Chicken or any form of poultry roasted on top of vegetables allows the juices escaping from the meat as it cooks to impart their wonderful flavors directly in to the vegetables. It should be noted only that chicken which is not touching the metal tray does take slightly longer to cook due to the lack of direct heat contact. The vegetables which are cooked with the chicken can easily be varied to suit individual tastes but harder, root vegetables such as the potatoes used in this instance or perhaps parsnips, carrot or rutabaga (Swede turnip) will require to be firstly parboiled and cooled as they do take longer to cook than most vegetables which grow above the ground
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 12 ounce tray of mixed and already prepared Mediterranean style roasting vegetables*
- 5 or 6 baby new potatoes
- 1 medium size and strength red chili
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil, plus extra for oiling chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 whole chicken thighs
- Freshly chopped flat leafed parsley to garnish
*A tray of vegetables such as this one bought from a supermarket not only cuts back on preparation time, it is often a considerably cheaper alternative to buying the products individually. This item consisted of slices of zucchini (courgette), red onion, white onion and yellow bell pepper, as well as some small cherry tomatoes. If your supermarket does not sell prepared vegetable trays of this type, you can of course simply buy the ingredients individually and prepare them at home.
If as in this instance your chicken thighs have been stored in the fridge, they should be allowed to come up to room temperature before they go in to the oven. This will make them less likely to come out of the oven under cooked. Simply lay them on a plate, cover them and let them sit for half an hour to an hour on a kitchen surface.
While the chicken thighs are coming up to room temperature, wash the little potatoes but don't peel them and put them in to a pot of salted cold water. Put the pot on to a high heat, just until the water reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a moderate simmer for eight to ten minutes and no longer. The potatoes require only to be partly cooked at this stage. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, cover and leave for around half an hour until completely cool.
Cut the cooled potatoes in half. Top the chili and slice it in to moderately thin discs. Peel the garlic clove and thinly slice.
Rapeseed oil makes a tasty alternative to olive oil but the latter can be used if preferred. Similarly, the dried herbs could be varied to suit individual tastes, with parsley, thyme and rosemary representing viable alternatives.
Put your oven on to preheat to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7.
Empty the tray of prepared mixed vegetables in to a large bowl and add the potatoes, chili and garlic. Pour over a couple of tablespoons of rapeseed oil and season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. Use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the vegetables through the oil and seasonings, taking your time to ensure everything becomes evenly coated and won't consequently burn in the oven.
Spoon the vegetables in to a suitably sized, ovenproof dish and spread them out evenly. Try to ensure the different vegetable types are evenly dispersed.
Turn the chicken thighs over to expose their flesh sides and season with salt and pepper. This is essential to ensure the chicken meat releases its full flavors in the oven.
Turn the chicken thighs again that they are skin sides up and drizzle with some rapeseed oil. Use your hands to rub the oil evenly all over the skin. Season the skin with more salt. The oil and the salt will help the skin color and crisp up during the roasting process.
Lift the chicken thighs on to the top of the vegetables, ensuring they are laid skin sides up.
Lift the dish on to a large roasting tray. This is simply to contain any potential spills and save you having to clean the oven afterwards. Place the tray in to the middle of your oven for thirty-five minutes.
When the tray comes out of the oven, pierce each chicken thigh at its thickest part with a sharp metal skewer or a fork and ensure there remains no trace of blood in the juices. If there are any traces of red or pink, put the dish back in to the oven for another five minutes before testing again in a similar way. Assuming the thighs are cooked, lift them with cooking tongs to a heated plate, cover with aluminum foil and leave to rest for ten minutes.
Stir the vegetables around in the dish with a wooden spoon. This ensures they all get a coating of the tasty chicken juices. Return the tray to the oven for ten more minutes while the chicken thighs are resting.
A large slotted spoon is best used to lift the vegetables from the cooking dish to a serving plate, allowing each spoonful a few seconds held over the dish to allow the excess oil to drain away. Lift the rested chicken thighs on to the vegetables and scatter with the freshly chopped parsley to serve.