Yep it’s Friday night again. So get yourself a beverage. Last Friday night we were all home as it’s Kid night in our house, where the kids get to choose dinner (an approved dinner that we can all eat) which normally means ideas like baked beans, rocky road icecream or plain pasta with butter and cheese.
Our menu planning was hampered by the fact that one of the kids was sick and couldn’t eat anything, and the other one wanted dinner at 5pm.
So Kid night was still on, but we just didn’t all eat the same thing.
I decided to make roasted chicken with pancetta, leeks & thyme. It’s easy, and a dish that will make your house smell unreal [I think I need to add a new category: "Makes house smell good" or "Gives good aroma"] and one kids and adults will/should both like (I say should as our kids didn’t actually try it). No spicy spices to see here folks.
It’s adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe in Cook with Jamie, and one that I cook a lot.
Which reminds me. I talked to someone last week who has a shop/cafe with a huge gluten free range (more on that in another post), and her thoughts about gluten free cooking were to go right back to the basics – think back to the simple eras of cooking (not the 80′s). Your meat and 3 veg. Fish and veg. Fish and salad. Grilled stuff. Things you would have had growing up (yes mum – stew!). Simple, easy and beautiful. I agree. This is one of those dishes.
So it’s adapted from Jamie Oliver whom I just love. His cookbooks are so packed with ideas it’s ridiculous. These quantities should feed around 4.
I used 6 chicken drumsticks (skin on), but the original recipe called for skinless chicken breasts. The drumsticks were great – I’ve also used Marylands as well.
4 – 6 leeks (1 mid sized leek per chicken piece – but less is still tasty)
1 red onion (or more if you love the onion taste)
Lemon zest (just a touch)
Bunch of thyme (I like lots)
Few cloves of garlic, kept whole with skin off
6 slices of thinly sliced pancetta (match the number of slices to how many chicken pieces you have – for Marylands or big breasts [no delicate way to say it] you may need a couple of slices)
Olive oil (yep Dad it’s extra virgin)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
What to do
Le preparation: Get your oven cranked up to 200 degrees celsius. Put your chook into a big bowl and salt and pepperise it. Wash your leeks well and chop them up into about half a cm pieces. Add these to the chook bowl, along with some thyme – actually lots of thyme. I strip it off the twigs – a decent handful of twigs. Big lug (Jamie’s own terminology) of olive oil, a small knob of butter, finely grated lemon zest (I use a Microplane grater), sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a big swig (again Jamie talk) of white wine. Mix it all up gently with your hands, then take out the chook pieces and put on another plate for a sec.
Getting ready to bake: Find a snug fitting baking dish (I lined mine with foil to assist with easy washing up – very anal of me) and pour the leeks and flavourings from the bowl into the dish. Wrap each of the chicken pieces in a piece of pancetta, and then lie them on top of the leek mixture. Drizzle with olive oil, more salt and pepper and some whole thyme sprigs.
Cook in the middle of the oven for about 35 – 45 minutes (can be less if you have smaller pieces – maybe start checking around the 25 minute mark).
On this particular kid night we served it with mashed potato for the gentleman, and brown rice for the lady.
Here’s a big cheers to Friday nights – whatever you’re up to.