Autumnal Chicken Tray Bake

The perfect chicken recipe for Autumn. This simple supper marries together chicken with wholesome pumpkin, carrots and parsnips and smoky bacon lardons.

Introduction

If possible, avoid the orange skinned, ‘carving’ type of pumpkin here, as the flesh tends to collapse. I use a denser fleshed Crown Prince, or firm-fleshed squash instead. 

Ingredients

4 bone-in skin-on chicken pieces
100g smoked bacon lardons
600g pumpkin or squash, peeled and cut into 1.5cm-thick wedges
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into thick batons
2 carrots, cut into thick batons
2 leeks, thickly sliced
1 celery stick, finely chopped
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
50ml vermouth
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Put the chicken, bacon and vegetables in a roasting tin, preferably in a single layer, but if that’s not possible, put the chicken on top. Sprinkle over the smoked paprika, the thyme and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil, turn everything over to make sure it is coated. Pour in the vermouth and 50ml of water.

Roast for 45 minutes, then drizzle over the maple syrup, if you like. Finish cooking with another 10 minutes or so in the oven, until everything is well browned and caramelising around the edges.

Variation: Jerusalem Artichokes
Drop peeled Jerusalem artichokes into a bowl of water acidulated with a good squeeze of lemon juice before adding to the tin in place of the pumpkin. Omit the smoked paprika and replace with the finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and some olive oil-tossed chestnut mushrooms for the last 10 minutes. Leave out the maple syrup.

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