Last few months I was all over Ottolenghi’s new book ‘Simple’. Have you seen it? Maybe you have even cooked from it too? It’s such a great book with lots of simple recipes that I can cook during the week. Who would have thought that it was possible to cook Ottolenghi’s recipes on working days? I promise I will post a ‘Simple’ recipe soon, but today I wanted to share this spicy chicken and split-pea tray bake from his weekly Guardian column.
We love chicken in tray bakes……..heck we love chicken! Period! I realize that the punctuation in that last sentence is very important because one might think we love ‘chicken period’. Honestly, I don’t even want to know what that is. I love chicken so much that one of the members in our Facebook group once said: ‘every time I cook chicken I think of Zahra’. There are so many chicken recipes we like that I hardly ever make the same one twice a year. Bonkers, right?
Why you should make this oven-roasted spicy chicken and split-pea tray bake? For one it’s easy to prep and cook for a quick but yummy supper. I have two very active kids who are always hungry the minute they come home. Especially when they go through a growth spurt and grow several centimetres in only a month or two. At these times they are likely to need a lot of energy, hence fooooooooooood.
Often my son is more affected by this than my daughter. He sometimes has seconds and maybe even thirds and still feels hungry. I just let them because I know children are very energetic and can burn off calories faster than most adults. Sometimes I can be very envious of their metabolism. I remember those times in my childhood when I could eat as much as they do and never gain any weight.
Another reason why you should make this spicy chicken and split-pea tray bake is that you can make the whole dish in one pan. I have a big deep roasting tray I use for my tray bakes that I can use on the stove for a quick sear before I put it in the oven. One pan cooking has some great advantages. The obvious one being: there is only one pan to wash up after dinner. In addition, you can pop it in the oven and go and do other things while the oven does the hard work.
The original recipe doesn’t use bell peppers, but I wanted to add some extra veggies and colour to the dish. I also used chicken thighs for extra flavour. You might want to use other parts of the chicken if you are watching your diet. Omit the jalapeño and substitute smoked paprika for the chipotle if you can’t find it or want to make this more child-friendly.
Don’t be tempted to use less liquid as the split-peas will soak up all the sticky pan juices until they are al dente. Don’t worry if they turn mushy. The dish will still taste amazing. I also used more split peas because I wanted to finish the package I bought. Besides the famous Dutch split pea soup I don’t use split peas very often in recipes. That’s why I added that little bit extra. Please, don’t skip the split peas, they are really scrumptious in this dish. All I’m saying is: give peas a chance…………..
If only all recipes were as simple as this one, right? Mister Ottolenghi should definitely include this recipe in his sequel ‘More Simple’ or is it going to be ‘Simple More’?
I hope you enjoy this chicken and split-pea tray bake recipe as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!
Source: 'The Guardian' - Yotam Ottolenghi
- 6 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs (1.1kg)
- 1 orange, quartered
- 2 jalapeño chilli, cut in half lengthways
- 1 garlic bulb, cut in half widthways
- 6 (banana) shallots, peeled and quartered lengthways
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes (or smoked paprika)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 60 ml olive oil
- 30 ml maple syrup
- 150 ml water
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 300 g dried green split peas, rinsed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1-2 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan). Put the first nine ingredients in a large bowl with 50ml of the oil, 20ml of the maple syrup and a teaspoon and a half of salt, then toss with your hands until the chicken is well coated.
Take only the chicken out of the bowl and give it a quick sear skin side down in a baking dish that you can use on the stove for a few minutes, just until the skin browns. Then take the chicken out of the baking dish and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the stock, 150ml water, the split peas and half a teaspoon of salt (omit the salt if your stock is salted).
Pour the peas and stock into the baking dish, then top with the chicken and its marinade, arranging the thighs so they are skin side up and spaced apart. I started out with a smaller baking dish and changed to a bigger one later because I was afraid the chicken wouldn’t brown in the small one (too much liquid).
Bake it for 50 min, then take it out of the oven. Turn the oven up to 220C, brush the chicken with the remaining oil and maple syrup, and sprinkle with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Return to the oven for an extra 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp and the peas are cooked through but still retain a little bite. Don’t worry though if they turn mushy, they will still be delicious. Take the baking dish out of the oven. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their papery skins and stir into the peas.
Pour the lime juice evenly over the top and finish the dish with a scattering of coriander.