What’s cooking today: Chicken & potato tray bake
There’s a particular succulence and crispiness to chicken when it’s been baked in a tray in the oven. It even self-sauces in a way, especially if you throw in some onions, garlic and whatnot. Perfect fare for a simple but delicious supper.
Much as I love cooking, and grateful as I am that I get paid to write about my hobby, there are evenings when I’d rather fling everything into one pot, bung it in the oven, and put my feet up in front of the fire while it cooks itself. And that’s where a good ol’ chicken tray bake comes in…
8 chicken portions (thighs, drumsticks and/or breasts cut in half through the middle)
2 large red onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, sliced
8 oregano sprigs
8 thyme sprigs
4 Tbsp olive oil and more for the pan
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
Preheat the oven to 220℃.
First, peel and quarter the potatoes. In a suitable bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, lemon juice and zest, and brown sugar. Toss the potato quarters in this. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and toss the chicken pieces in the same baste.
This requires a really big oven dish, but I find that if you squeeze the quarters of onion between the chicken portions they fit in quite easily and also help to flavour the chicken they’re right next to. Ditto garlic slivers. It’s all about proximity: push sprigs of herbs in between the portions too. All of the flavours and juices will work together to make that chicken taste sublime.
Oil the bottom of the pan with olive oil and place the chicken pieces in the centre of the dish, side by side.
Push the potato and onion quarters, garlic slivers and the sprigs of herbs between the portions.
Give the pan a good shake so that everything settles down nicely for the cook. Pop it into the hot oven and bake for at least 45 minutes. The chicken needs to be nicely browned, the skin crisp, and the potatoes tender. Toss the potatoes around now and then while cooking. It might take longer, even as much as an hour. All ovens, as I often say, are different. DM/TGIFood
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