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If there’s one smell that makes my heart very happy, it’s roast chicken.
There is just something so cozy and comfortable about chicken roasting away in the oven. Nostalgia plays a big part, of course. So many Sunday suppers as a child revolved around roast chicken, potatoes and veg. Sometimes there was gravy, and good chicken gravy is really quite wonderful, but even on the nights there wasn’t, roast chicken dinner was a winner according to everyone around the table.
Roasting the whole bird is terrifically economical, as the leftover meat can be used in sandwiches, tacos, soup, the list goes on. The bones can be simmered into an aromatic broth and made into soup. Nothing goes to waste when roasting a whole bird, which I love.
That being said, sometimes you want the experience of a roast chicken dinner, but it’s Tuesday at 4:30 pm and you don’t have time to throw a whole bird in the oven. That’s where bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks come in handy. And they’re pretty affordable — especially when you buy the Club Pack. I don’t have a huge family to feed, so I just freeze the chicken pieces in smaller portions. I don’t know about you, but I like saving money and I like having meat in the freezer.
Bone-in chicken pieces are juicy and flavourful, and so good when roasted on a sheet pan with your favourite vegetables for a weeknight chicken dinner.
A hot tip for a successful, golden and crispy sheet pan supper is to make sure the oven temp is hot hot hot, and that you don’t crowd your pan. Crowding equals moisture, which equals soggy food. Another hot tip is to line the baking sheets with parchment paper. I forgot to do it once and I was cursing the crusty, stuck on bits. It wasn’t pretty! So yes to parchment, and yes to a variety of vegetables that your family will enjoy when roasted.
I quite like the crispy, nutty deliciousness of roasted Brussels sprouts, but I know I may be in the minority with this. You could use zucchini or broccoli instead, but toss them on during the last 20 minutes, as they won’t take as long to cook. I also enjoy roasted sweet potato, but if this isn’t for you, substitute carrots or even butternut squash. Potatoes are always a safe bet, and the fingerlings are fun to eat.
Sheet pan suppers are a great way to clean out the crisper and their versatility means everyone at the table will like something, if not everything placed before them.
I didn’t do anything especially fancy with the chicken pieces. The skin was left on, because crispy chicken skin is a good thing, but I did pat it dry so that the skin crisped up nicely. I then brushed the chicken with some melted, salted butter. You could brush it with olive oil instead, but I wanted the richness of the butter. Feel free to season the butter with garlic powder or chopped herbs.
Next, I sprinkled the thighs and drumsticks with generous amounts of salt, pepper and some Italian seasoning. If you don’t have this, just use dried rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, etc. That’s it, that’s all.
The chicken and vegetables roast for about 45 minutes, and yes, the smell coming out of the oven is as good as a whole roast chicken, but it took just half the time. The vegetables have lovely, charred pieces, and if you weren’t a Brussels sprouts lover before, you will be now.
Roast Chicken Sheet Pan Supper
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 lb. fingerling or baby potatoes, cut in half
3/4 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 onion cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks)
2 Tbsp melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables, garlic, canola oil, 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet.
3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, skin side up. Brush the chicken with the melted butter and season generously with salt, pepper, and the remaining Italian seasoning.
4. Roast the chicken and vegetables for 40-45 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 175F. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking and give a little nudge to the vegetables to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for five minutes before serving. Makes four to six servings.
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