Saturday, 17 May 2014
Take it easy chicken! Chicken and Pepper Traybake
This is so easy and so good. And colourful too, from the moment you scatter the ingredients over the bottom of the tray to the point where you put it all on the plate, this is food to make you feel summery. A scattering of parsley makes the red and yellows brighter somehow, and then you have the golden glow of the roast chicken, nestled, waiting to be torn from the bone, if you are Finn that is. His general finickity behaviour does not stretch to 'meat with bones' surprisingly. He relishes sucking every inch of sinew from the bones and licking his fingers. I have often said that the 21st century is not necessarily the place for his preferred way of eating; instead I see him at some long table in a draughty castle round about the time of Henry VIII, devouring with gusto whatever had been hunted in the name of survival.
Anyway, I am not sure one of our most famous monarchs would have gone for this tray bake - mainly because I don't think we had the peppers back then, but luckily we do now. I am wondering whether there is any better taste than a roasted pepper, and with a splosh of balsamic vinegar to finish, it makes them even better.
The inspiration for this recipe was from Annie Bell's 'Low Carb Cookbook'. She cooked this with chicken breasts, but I only had boned thighs. I deviated from the recipe by browning my chicken thighs in a frying pan first before putting them on a bed of peppers, onions and herbs, thinking that it might speed up the cooking process a little bit; I didn't want cremated vegetables and undercooked chicken. I also tried to drain off some of the oil, once the chicken and vegetables were cooked and then try to reduce the chicken, pepper and herb flavoured sauce a little. I did find that what sauce there was needed seasoning and a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar to make it zing.
The good thing is that it was one of those meals which is healthy, lacking in faff and quick. 5 minutes prep and 30 - 40 minutes cooking and you have yourself something wonderful to eat.
Chicken and Pepper Tray Bake, adapted from 'The Low Carb Cookbook' by Annie Bell
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad
two onions, sliced
two red peppers and two yellow peppers, cut into chunky slices.
a teaspoon of dried thyme and oregano
olive oil for drizzling
six chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
salt and pepper
two tsp of balsamic vinegar, or more to taste.
chopped parsley, for scattering
Preheat the oven to 180c
Scatter the onions and peppers over the bottom of a suitable tray. drizzle with the olive oil, salt and pepper and the herbs. Mix it around to ensure everything is evenly coated.
Put some olive oil into a frying pan. Season the chicken then put it skin side down into the pan to brown the skin.
Once the chicken thighs are brown, place them amongst the onions and peppers.
Cook for about 30 - 40 minutes, or until the vegetables have begun to caramelise and the chicken juices run clear when a knife is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Remove the chicken to a board and taste the peppers and onions. They may need more seasoning. Stir the balsamic vinegar into the tray and taste again.
Serve the chicken with a helping of peppers and onions. I served a bit of couscous on the side.