Chicken pieces baked in aromatic spices & garlic
Tonight, we ate these gorgeous chicken pieces. Instead of the roast Mediterranean veg in the recipe we piled them onto a bed of baby spinach leaves alongside green beans dressed with lemon juice, black pepper and a little Himalayan salt. If you don’t want to lose any weight, you could add some potatoes. This way of roasting chicken pieces is a real crowd-pleaser.
The paste keeps for a couple of weeks in an airtight jar in the fridge. The chicken is even better if you let it sit in the paste for a while or overnight in the fridge. It’s still great if you slather it on just before cooking. Using a miniature food processor gives a really creamy texture to the paste and saves lots of effort.
2 whole chicken legs, small breasts on the bone, or fillets, ideally organic.
2 whole red or yellow peppers, washed but not cut open
2 large fat courgettes
A few small/medium sized sweet potatoes or normal potatoes in their jackets (optional – omit if this is your evening meal and you want to lose weight or if you are following a ketogenic eating plan)
2 red onions (optional)
12 large cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
¾ teasp ground allspice
¼ teasp freshly ground black pepper
A good pinch of cayenne pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gm 6
2. Blitz all the spice paste ingredients together in a small food processor. Otherwise crush the garlic and mix well with the other ingredients – the sauce will not cling so well but is still fine.
3. Slather enough of the paste on the chicken to coat well and place in a large roasting dish (you will have a fair bit left over to drizzle over baked sweet potatoes, to use another time to grill some white fish, or to serve as a spicy accompaniment )
4. Prepare whatever vegetables you are using: Wash the peppers (do not cut anything out as, cooked whole, the pepper will fill up with delicious sweet juices while cooking); wash the courgettes and cut into 7cm lengths;
Scrub the potatoes if using. Peel and halve the red onions if using and brush with a little olive oil
Spread out the veg in a single layer with the chicken in the roasting dish.
5. Bake for 50 mins in the oven or until the chicken juices run clear when the meat is pierced with the point of a knife. Chicken fillets may cook faster if they are small so check these after 30 mins (remove from the oven if done while the rest of the veg finish cooking).
Cook’s Tip for Kids Eating:
Many children dislike seeing seeds so try halving the peppers, removing the seeds and in each pepper place a tomato half and a teaspoon of olive oil before putting in the oven. This helps the pepper avoid drying out.
Garlic and spices in your diet are a fantastic health booster – for liver and skin health, immunity and delaying the effects of ageing. If you cannot source organic chicken then its best to avoid fattiest part of the bird (legs, thighs, skin) and eat only the breast. Battery chickens are routinely dusted with pesticides which congregate in the fatty tissues of the bird.