The year may not even be halfway over yet, but I’m calling it: This is going to be one of my favorite recipes of 2016.
I was suspicious of the sheet-pan supper trend, just as I was leery of the one-pot pasta craze and am pretty skeptical of the current mania for calling every one-dish meal a “bowl.” (Sometimes a salad is just a salad, people.) I love convenience, but not when it’s overly contrived, so it seemed like throwing a bunch of random things together on a baking sheet and roasting them all at the same time might just be a recipe for a lot of unevenly cooked food. But at the same time, pairing main dishes with sides can be a real puzzle, and I’m always looking for more of those magical dishes that give you everything you need in one simple package. So when this genius solution appeared at Smitten Kitchen, a beam of light may just as well have shone down from the heavens onto my brain. Easy Indian-spiced chicken with roasted vegetables is the dream meal I didn’t even know I was looking for.
You’re going to glance at the lengthy three-sectioned ingredient list and think it doesn’t look very easy, but it’s mostly spices that take only a fraction of a second to measure out, and everything really does come together pretty quickly. The chicken has the best Indian flavors of anything I’ve ever tried to make at home, and after a winter spent embracing cauliflower, I was thrilled to see it (spangled with cumin seeds, just like in that soup recipe I love) cleverly joining the roasted potatoes to round this out into a legitimate vegetable-full meal. Whatever you do, don’t skip the quick-pickled red onion and yogurt-herb toppings, which really make all the spicy, roasty flavors sing with their bright, fresh top notes (my one innovation was stirring together the yogurt and herbs with lemon into a single sauce, mostly for convenience in transporting the leftovers).
For the chicken:
1 ¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala*
2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, drumsticks and/or halved breasts
For the vegetables:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1¼ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ¾-inch chunks
1¾ pounds (1 small or half a very large head) cauliflower, cut into ¾-inch florets
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
A few tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro, parsley or mint, or a mix
*No garam masala? No problem. Mix ½ teaspoon ground turmeric; ¼ teaspoon ground coriander; 1/8 teaspoon each ground cumin, cardamom and mustard; 1/16 teaspoon each ground black pepper and fennel; and a pinch each of ground cloves and cayenne.
- For the chicken, combine ginger, garlic, jalapeno, yogurt, salt, spices and sugar in a freezer bag, bowl or container. (I pureed them into a paste with my immersion blender first, but you can skip that if you want.) Add chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Let marinate for 15 minutes or up to a day in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to cook, heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a half-sheet (13×18-inch) pan with foil and coat it with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add potatoes, cauliflower, salt, cumin, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss together with your hands until evenly coated.
- Remove chicken from marinade, leaving excess behind. Make spaces in the vegetables for chicken parts throughout the pan. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then toss the potato and cauliflower to ensure they’re cooking evenly, and return the pan to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes more, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender and browned.
- Meanwhile, toss the sliced onion in a small bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir the yogurt, herbs, more lemon juice and salt together in another small bowl. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the pickled onion and the yogurt sauce on top.
Time: 1½ hours
Leftover potential: Good.