Simple Spring Chicken and Veg bake

I have the misfortune fortune of being married to a perfectionist.

My husband thrives on the pleasure of getting certain little intricate details in life absolutely spot on.

Need a spot of DIY doing? He’s your man (complete with spirit level, tape measure and pencil perched behind the ear). He is a dab hand with a saw (measure twice, cut once) and precision personified when painting the gloss work.

Want your book shelves rearranged? My husband would take great delight in not only arranging your literature in the most logical or helpful manner, but would carefully ensure each book is level, not allowing even one rogue novel to stand proud on the shelf.

What about your document filing? The hubster would happily create you a comprehensive classification system to ensure your papers are archived neatly, your financial affairs are in order and your life is enabled to run smoothly.

He’s thorough, practical, has an eye for detail. He values quality, loves symmetry and is committed to the cause.

And boy, sometimes it’s supremely irritating.

Except for when it comes to doing the dishes. My husband is brilliant at washing up.

His perfectionism extends to taking complete ownership of  tidying up the mess that I make in the kitchen. He alone fills the dishwasher (apparently my stacking system isn’t efficient enough) and won’t let me near the sink to scrub the pots and pans (too much of a risk that they won’t be spotlessly clean and completely grime free).

It’s a hardship, I know 😋

So this one pot (or dish) wonder is dedicated to him. Mainly because he grumbles about my ability to create inordinate mounds of washing up after my culinary experiments. This recipe should lessen his workload a tad. And because I’m grateful that he cares enough about our family to keep our home tidy and comfortable.

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This recipe is shamelessly adapted from the BBC good food website (original can be found here), but has a few changes made to ensure ultimate taste experience. I roast the veg alongside the chicken for the last 20 minutes to get those sumptuous chicken juices penetrating the veggies, and actually cook the chicken skin separately to ensure maximum crispness. I think that means this recipe isn’t actually one pot then. Whoops.

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A word about ingredients. I used chicken thighs with the bone in (soooooo much tastier than the more expensive but ever-so-popular breast) for maximum thrift, and the veggies I bought whilst seasonal from my local market. You could of course replace them with other veg if it’s not spring (I reckon aubergine and pepper would work magnificently) as asparagus out of season can be pricey, and let’s be honest, no way near as tasty as the homegrown English varieties.

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I also used the cheaper ‘salad cheese’ rather than Feta, and although the quality is not quite as good, as it’s really only there to provide a salty hit of flavour rather than be a major component of the dish. One stage I really don’t advise you missing out is the crisping of the peppery chicken skin. Crumbled over the top, it really adds a lovely crunchy contrast to the other softer ingredients, and will make you feel very smug and ‘cheffy’ too.

So there you go: a simple spring (almost) one pot bake. I hope you enjoy.

And find someone else to do the washing up.

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Simple Spring Chicken and Veg bake (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs, on the bone, skin removed but not discarded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon zested and half juiced (the other half cut into wedges)
  • 4 shallots, thickly sliced
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • Teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, bashed but unpeeled
  • small handful fresh parsley
  • 450g asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 2 courgettes, thickly sliced on the diagonal
  • 250g peas (defrosted if frozen)
  • 100g feta crumbled

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the chicken thighs in a large shallow roasting  tin and the skin in another similarly shallow roasting dish.
  2. Season the skin liberally (particularly with plenty of freshly ground pepper) and smear with olive oil.
  3. Whisk together the oil, lemon zest and juice and dried thyme and pour over the chicken thighs
  4. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, then add the courgette wedges, shallots, asparagus, garlic and rosemary and tarragon. Give the tin a good shake to spread the juices around. Also add the tin with the chicken skin to the oven.
  5. Roast for a further 20 minutes (checking the skin and turning to ensure crispness) adding the peas to the veggies for for the final minute.
  6.  Remove both tins from the oven, crumbling over the crispy skin and feta and serving immediately, letting people dig in at will.

 

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