Thursday, March 17, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Olives

Last night I promised you pictures and a recipe and today I'm finally getting around to delivering on that promise! For the most part, everything went as planned but since I had to stop at Meijer on the way home to get some of the ingredients, things got started kind of late! I also had to do dishes from the previous night before I started cooking. Once of these days I'll get on the correct schedule and won't have to delay dinner for cleanup anymore! Who am I kidding, that will never happen.

The original recipe called for grape tomatoes rather than olives and when I got to Meijer and saw they are currently almost $4 a pint, I decided I'd leave them out. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes and I like them even less roasted. The recipe was similar to one published by Cooking Light about a year ago that included green olives so I decided to include those instead. It was a good decision. I also didn't have a lot of cooking juices from the chicken so I added a little garlic olive oil. I'm not sure exactly what religion I am but whatever it is, garlic is a major part of the dogma. We insist on a liberal application of it wherever appropriate. This seemed like a recipe that could benefit from a little garlic and in fact, I think it did.

I'm a big fan of the "perfect bite." You know, those rare dishes that allow you to experience a perfect melding of taste and texture?0000 This dish fits that description perfectly. The chicken is juicy with crisp skin. The vegetables are the real stars here, however, from the earthiness of the chickpeas to the sweet, mellowness of the red onions. The cauliflower has a sweet nuttiness and the olives add a perfect, briny flavor. To be honest, I could have done without the meat, and made with just olive oil, this would be a quick, cheap and satisfying vegan meal, especially paired with a green salad and some crusty bread.

Below is the recipe and a picture of the end result. I apologize for the quality, I didn't realize until too late that I need to get new batteries for my camera! This was taken with my cell phone.

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Olives
Adapted from Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas, Everyday Food, April 2011

One 3-4 pound chicken, cut into pieces
One small head of cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large (or 2 small) red onions, cut into wedges
1 cup large green olives, cut in half lengthwise, pimentos removed
1-2 tsp garlic oil or olive oil with chopped garlic
salt & pepper

Position oven racks in the top 1/3 of oven. Preheat oven to 450 and place a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil on top rack. Cut up the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the oven is hot, carefully remove the pan from the oven and arrange the chicken pieces skin side up. Place on top rack and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare another rimmed baking sheet with foil.

After the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, remove from oven and move pieces to the second baking sheet. On the first baking sheet, place the prepared vegetables and toss with the juices from the chicken and a little extra oil, if necessary. Place both pans back in the oven, chicken on the top rack and veggies on the bottom and roast for another 30 minutes or so until the chicken is done and the cauliflower can be pierced with a fork.


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