Red Hot Chicken & Potato Traybake

Red Hot Chicken & Potato Traybake

Traybakes have been all the rage for a while but I was reluctant to jump on that bandwagon.

Mainly because apart from breads, cakes, cookies and the like which need to be baked in an oven, I prefer to use my hob. That way, I can prod & poke my food as it cooks, inhale the aromas, take a nibble (or several) and fine-tune the flavours without needing to open the oven door several times.

Also, to me as an Indian, traybake didn’t seem to provide the step-by-step layering of flavours that Indian cooking is so reliant on.

But I changed my mind when I ate a similar tray bake at a friend’s house. This isn’t her recipe but my take on the general idea. Nothing about this is particularly Indian and you will soon see that the flavours are pretty basic.

Yet somehow, the time spent in the oven magically transforms those basic flavours into one delicious tray of food. The cherry tomatoes pop in the heat, creating delicious puddles that seep down into the layers below. The chicken pieces acquire a burnished hue and char in places, intensifying the flavour. The potatoes readily soak up all these juices and become meltingly tender in some places and satisfactorily crunchy in others. The onions, in the meantime, brown gorgeously on the metal tray. This caramelised onion flavour alone is enough to carry the dish on its own but then those notes of chilli heat just gild the lily. Simple flavours + variety of textures = interesting dish.

Note: As you know before going into the recipe, the predominant flavour here is the heat from the chillies. If you need to lessen the amount of heat, do so but leaving it out completely will diminish the dish. Start with the bare minimum and work your way up.

Chicken & Potato Tray Bake

Red Hot Chicken & Potato Traybake

A very simple flavour profile with a predominant chilli note.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Multi-cuisine
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

For the chicken:

  • 1 kg bone-in chicken legs, drumsticks or thighs
  • 6 tbsp passata
  • 1 tbsp prepared English mustard (I used Colman's) you can omit this if you don't have it
  • 1-3 tbsp hot chilli paste I used Priya's but it's not easily available, so use any that you have or use chilli powder. Quantities will vary on the heat of the product and that required.
  • tsp salt
  • 2 - 3 tbsp oil rapeseed for preference but use any unflavoured kind that you have.

Rest of the ingredients:

  • 2-4 onions peeled & sliced lengthwise into half moons
  • 2-4 potatoes scrubbed, then sliced into rounds (do not peel)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato, chopped
  • oil for greasing the sheet pan

Instructions
 

Marinate the chicken:

  • Skin the chicken pieces and make gashes in each piece. In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and add the chicken to it. Use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken, particularly into the gashes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Baking;

  • The next day, take the chicken out of the fridge an hour before you want to bake it. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Prepare the vegetables while the oven heats up.
  • Get your trays ready. Depending on the size of your onions & potatoes, you may need 1 or 2 trays. The point is not to overcrowd the tray. Lightly grease the tray(s) and set aside.
  • With a slotted spoon, take the chicken out of the marinade and set aside (not on the tray!), leaving behind as much marinade as possible.
  • To this marinade, first add the onions, give a quick toss, then using the slotted spoon, spread out on the prepared tray(s). You should still have some marinade left in the bowl.
  • Repeat the above step with the potatoes and spread on top of the onions.
  • Add the tomatoes on top followed by the chicken. (I was out of tomatoes, hence none for my chicken sadly!)
  • Bake, uncovered, for about half an hour until the chicken looks almost done.
  • Crank up the oven to its maximum temperature and bake for 15 -30 minutes, checking on it regularly, until the chicken and the vegetables are charred in places.

Notes

An original recipe from Capers in my Kitchen.
Keyword chicken, chilli, easy, hot, potato, spicy, traybake


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