October 15, 2008

Lazy Sunday Roast Dinner with Roasted Broccoli

Back in the UK Steve's mum always cooks us a lovely roast dinner on Sundays and then we usually spend the rest of the day being complete coach potatoes. So even though the food out in SF is great and special ingredients are easily obtainable, nothing quite beats a Roast Dinner for pure comfort food (although I could quite happily sit and eat a big bowl of mashed potatoes!).

The first time I made Roast Dinner in the apartment it was a bit stressful because we only have 1 shelf in the oven, so I had to juggle a few different baking trays to get everything to be ready at the same time. But I now have this great new method which is so much easier and I can sit back and relax whilst it cooks away in the hotbox.

Also, here is a fantastic recipe for Roasted Broccoli (yes really!) by Alton Brown. It's perfect to serve with roast dinner as you've already got the oven on, you just need to crank it up once everything else is cooked. Being Chinese I've grown up with my parents cooking vegetables perfectly al dente in stir fries etc, so I find nothing worse than overcooked broccoli which has no flavour and the texture of a soggy sponge. This method of roasting broccoli ensures you have perfectly cooked broccoli and none of the vitamins are lost through boiling - bonus! OK so dumping a load of cheese on top probably negates any of the health benefits, but trust me the cheese really makes this so good! I haven't tried it with the panko breadcrumbs yet so will let you know if it's any good!
  • Serves 2
  • Oven temperature: Gas 6/200C/400F
  • You will need: Large baking dish/tray about 13 x 9 inches and a baking sheet
  • Prep time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45-50 minutes plus 8-10 minutes for the broccoli
Ingredients:
  • 2 large Chicken Thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into sticks
  • 2 or 3 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into walnut-sized pieces (Russets or Maris Pipers are good)
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs & spices of your choice (I used a ready-made Italian Seasoning mix grinder)
  • Some olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, florets cut into bitesize pieces and stalks cut into batons
  • A large handful of grated cheese (I used Monterey)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 6/200C/400F.
  2. Season the chicken and arrange in the baking dish skin side up.
  3. Mix the oil and your seasoning in a large bowl, add the potatoes and thoroughly coat. Add the potatoes to the baking dish in their own section. Do the same for the carrots.
  4. Evenly distribute the garlic around the chicken, potatoes and carrots.
  5. Put the dish in the hot oven and roast for 45-50 minutes, occasionally turning the potatoes and carrots, until the chicken is completely cooked. About halfway through cooking you might have a pool of oil in the dish as the chicken skin renders the fat, so collect this and save it to use on the broccoli.
  6. Remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm.
  7. Now crank up the oven to Gas 7/220C/425F to cook the broccoli.
  8. Place the broccoli into a mixing bowl and toss with your reserved oil from the baking dish (or drizzle with some olive oil and seasoning) and then spread the broccoli out on a baking sheet.
  9. Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until just tender. (Whilst this is cooking you can make your gravy). Sprinkle the cheese on the broccoli and melt under the grill/broiler (I usually turn this on so I can make the chicken skin and roast potatoes even crispier!).
TASTY TIP:
Serve up the garlic! Even though it has imparted a lot of flavour to the chicken, carrots and potatoes during cooking, it has a lovely flavour when eaten whole and isn't too strong - trust me I ate some thinking it was potato and was pleasantly surprised!

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