PAN ROAST CHICKEN WITH CAULI TABBOULEH & FETA AND TOMATO SALAD
Who says meat and two veg has to be stodgy? Since when should you only have roast chicken on a Sunday? This is a really tasty, satisfying pretty much carb free plate of deliciousness any night of the week.
Pan Roast Chicken
Two chicken breasts – with the skin kept on – without the skin you’re not going to get golden roast chicken
Teaspoon of smoked paprika
Pinch or two of sea salt
Half a dozen sprigs of fresh thyme
Fat clove of garlic – unpeeled but squashed
Half a lemon, cut into two quarters
Tablespoon of olive oil
Tablespoon of butter
Half a red onion – finely chopped
Juice of a whole lemon and its finely grated zest
Big handful of fresh coriander, fresh parsley and fresh mint – all coarsely chopped
6 or 7 juicy sundried tomatoes in oil, coarsely chopped. Retain a spoon of the oil.
Small cauliflower – florettes only – coarsely grated or quickly blitzed in food processor/blender
Couple of tablespoons of pine nuts or roasted buckwheat (kasha)
Tomato & Feta Salad
Couple of big spring onions – finely chopped
Tablespoon of red wine or cider vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper
Five or six decent sized, good quality ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (and kept out of the fridge – there’s nothing worse than cold, unripe tomatoes!)
Teaspoon or dried oregano
Half a packet of decent quality feta – or more if you fancy
You’ll need an ovenproof frying pan or skillet for this – this is key for panfrying the chicken before flipping it over to roast in the oven.
So, put the oven on nice and hot – 200 degrees C for a fan oven, hotter if not.
Prep the chicken – dry it with kitchen roll, then squash down a bit with the ball of hand so it’s fairly flat (but not completely squashed) and then rub the skin side with the paprika, salt and pepper, thyme and olive oil. Heat up the oil and butter until it’s foaming nicely then add the garlic and then the chicken, skin side down. Press it down and leave it the hell alone to caramelise on a good strong heat. It’ll make a bit of a mess with the oil fizzing out, but that’s the way it goes. Baste it now and again with the oil/melted butter mix. You’ll want this to cook for around 10 minutes before flipping it over, adding the lemon quarters to the pan and then putting in the hot oven to cook for a further 15 minutes or so.
Whilst this is cooking, knock up your salads. It’s pretty much an assembly job as above, but with the tomato and feta I like to add the feta right at the end so that the onions and tomatoes can macerate / pickle slightly. For the tabbouleh the one downside about cauliflower is that it can be a bit stinky, so I like to get everything else ready first in the bowl, then grate or blitz the cauli once that’s done so you can turn it in the dressing and flavours, which seems to neutralise things right away. If you’re feeling middle Eastern and you have the spices in the cupboard then some ground cinnamon, mixed spice and ground clove work well. You might want to add more lemon juice to make it really zesty, but it’s the herbs that really work the magic.
Once the salads are ready to plate up, I like to pre slice the chicken on a warm plate, and then there’s always some nice juices left in the pan to pour on top. Obviously the timing for the chicken is a guide – you need to make sure it’s cooked through, which depends on how thick the chicken is. I also like to take the chicken out of the fridge half an hour or so before cooking, so it’s at room temperature – this helps it cook more evenly (same goes for most meats).