Smoky Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower
I’ve really gotten into sheet pan cooking in the last couple of years, although I know it sounds ridiculous. I mean, sheet pans? What else would you use those banged-up old things for? But really it’s this idea of throwing all your dinner components onto a pan, putting the pan into the oven, and cooking them together until they’re done. It shouldn’t be a Thing at all, but in these days of chefdriven home cooking, subrecipes, and dinners that use ten bowls, the sheet pan meal is your friend. Here, I was eager to play off the flavors of a good smoky, salty cured chorizo with chicken, potatoes, cauliflower, green olives, red onion, carrots, and smoked paprika but also bits of chorizo itself. I thought we’d get cute and finish it with some lightly pickled red pepper strips, and maybe dollops of a garlicky aioli. I had plans. And then it was actual dinnertime (versus the dinnertime I imagine when I’m on my laptop, typing up recipe ideas), and one by one, elements were axed. Goodbye, carrots! Goodbye, aioli! Goodbye . . . chorizo? Somehow, the central ingredient fell off the list, and we didn’t miss it nearly as much as I’d expected. If you have it, about 225 grams (8 ounces), dried, in chunks, definitely brings more of a salty, smoky emphasis to the pan, but if you don’t have it or don’t eat it, you wouldn’t know you were missing anything unless you read this paragraph.
|For the chicken:|
|2 tbsp (30ml)||olive oil|
|1 tbsp (15ml)||white wine vinegar|
|4||garlic cloves, finely chopped|
|1 tbsp (10 grams)||sweet smoked paprika (you can replace any portion of this with hot paprika if you wish)|
|1½ tsp||sea salt|
|1 kg (2 pounds)||chicken thighs, drumsticks, or halved chicken breasts (all skin-on, bone-in)|
|For the vegetables:|
|565 grams (1¼ pounds)||Yukon Gold or Charlotte potatoes (about 4 medium) 7|
|95 grams (1¾ pounds)||cauliflower (1 small or ½ very large head)|
|½||large red onion|
|120 grams (2/3 cup)||green olives, pitted|
|2 tbsp (30ml)||olive oil, plus more for the pan(s)|
|2 tsp||fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|a few juliennes of red bell pepper|
|1 tbsp (15 ml)||white wine vinegar|
|½ tsp||sea salt|
|pinches of granulated sugar|
|2 tbsp||roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley|
Marinate the chicken Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, and salt in a bowl. Add the chicken parts, and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate while you prepare your vegetables (or leave it in the fridge for up to 1 day).
Assemble the chicken and vegetables When you’re ready to cook the dish, heat your oven to 200°C/gas 6 and line a 13-by-18-inch baking tray or two 9-by-13-inch baking trays with foil and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Peel your potatoes if you wish, and cut them into approximately 3/4-inch chunks. Cut the cauliflower to about 1-inch florets. Cut your onion half into eight thin wedges. Spread the vegetables on the prepared tray(s), and use your hands to toss them with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the thyme, and salt and pepper. (If you’d like to add the chorizo, scatter it over the vegetables now.) Make spaces throughout the pan of vegetables, and add the chicken pieces, skin side up. Cook for 30 minutes, at which point check the tray and toss the potato and cauliflower to ensure they’re cooking evenly, then return the pan to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
To finish Toss the pepper strips together with the wine vinegar, salt, and a pinch or two of sugar in a small dish, and set aside until needed. When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, top with the pepper strips and parsley.