The One Dish Tray-Bake – effortless cooking

I’ll start with a confession. I have posted this recipe before. But it was in the early days of my blog when my followers were few and I’m pretty sure most of you won’t have seen it. A great pity, I thought, because it’s a favourite and for good reason.

I cooked it the other night and as I removed the weighty dish from the oven, mouth watering, made the decision that it deserved a second outing.

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’m a fan of slow cooking. As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen, if a dish can deliver deliciousness with little effort from myself I’m immediately on board.

The tray-bake is one such dish. Something that takes minutes to throw together and then cooks slowly in the oven without a need for any further intervention from the cook.

I know there are times recipes claim to be easy and take minutes to throw together and an hour later you’re wondering why you believed it. But this recipe really does do what it claims – comes together in minutes. I’d say 10 minutes, 15 at the outside. Once it’s in the oven you can ignore it for an hour and a half and simply wait for the reward that greets you at the end of cooking time.

The smell that permeates your kitchen as it cooks will have you willing that cooking time to disappear and at this time of the year it’s just what you need to ward off those dark, cold evenings.

Effortless, delicious, comforting – what more could you ask for in a dish?

 

Tray-baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes & Thyme

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken legs, skin on, bone in
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Handful of thyme sprigs
  • 600g new potatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 24 cherry tomatoes (mixed colours if you can get them)
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the chicken legs in a large oven dish or roasting tin. Give them a good seasoning and then drizzle with a little olive oil, rubbing it over the skin of the legs. Scatter the thyme leaves over and around.

Give the potatoes a quick wash and then halve them (the slightly larger ones you might want to cut into threes). Place them around the chicken legs.

Peel the garlic cloves but leave them whole. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. And it’s fine if you’ve only got red cherry tomatoes. I just happened to pass the beautiful yellow ones at my local market and couldn’t resist. Place the garlic cloves in and around the chicken and potatoes and then scatter over the tomatoes.

Give the entire dish a good seasoning and then a generous drizzle of olive oil. Get your hands in and make sure everything is glossy with it (although go easy – you don’t want the chicken and potatoes to be swimming in olive oil).

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Transfer the dish to the oven.

Bake for an hour and a half by which time the chicken will be crisp but tender and should fall off the bone when you start to eat.

Remove the chicken legs and potatoes from the dish onto a serving plate. With a fork squash the garlic cloves and mix through the juices that have been left behind by the tomatoes, the chicken and the olive oil. You want to give it a good, vigorous stir. Finally, stir through the capers.

This divine sauce can be spooned over the chicken and potatoes. I like to serve simply with a crisp green salad.

And as if this dish doesn’t have enough going for it – the only washing up you have is the oven dish, a chopping board and a few plates and cutlery. What’s not to like?

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