Chicken, Olive & Potato Tray Bake

This is one of my all time favorite easy weeknight dinners. It’s one of those fast & easy meals that you can quickly whip up by tossing everything in a casserole tray & popping it in the oven. It’s easy to scale & not very sensitive to quantities, so it really doesn’t matter if you only accidentally add 1/3 cup of balsamic instead of 1/4 cup. The best bit is that it tastes even better on the second night as leftovers – so make a double batch & save yourself an extra night of cooking!

Chicken, Olive and Potato Tray Bake

Ingredients

4 large potatoes (I like to use Yukon Gold)

700g Bone-In Chicken Thighs (or wings and drumsticks – the important thing is for the bone to be there)

200g mushrooms

4 Sprigs of Rosemary

A head of garlic

Olives

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp cornflour

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

2. Cut the potatoes in half length ways and then slice into 1cm fingers. Arrange in a large casserole dish.

2. Arrange chicken on top of the potatoes. Scatter the olives, garlic cloves, rosemary and mushrooms evenly across the casserole dish

3. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the casserole dish

4. Mix the cornflour together with a little water and combine it with the stock and balsamic vinegar. Pour the mixture over the casserole.

5. Bake uncovered for 60-90 mins (until chicken thighs and potatoes are cooked through)

Recipe Modifications

If you want to bulk it out with other things you may have in your fridge, I’ve found the following additions work well

Steamed greens (Beans, Brocolli, etc) – Steam these as you normally would & add them to the casserole just before serving. These can add a nice freshness to the dish.

Cauliflower – Cauliflower is an incredible flavor absorber and this recipe has loads of flavor!! You can put cauliflower florets in the tray to bake with the rest of the dish or make cauliflower rice & serve the casserole on a bed of cauliflower rice

Vegan\Vegetarian version – My mum makes a great vegan/vegetarian version for my dad by swapping the chicken for extra mushrooms & some firm tofu and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Tropical Dream Cake

Do you ever bake a cake just to use up some odd ingredients you have left over from other recipes? I had a few egg whites left over after making the fruit mince pie pastry earlier in the week & wanted to make something to use them up. I also had a HEAP of tinned passionfruit pulp in the cupboard & some limes that were getting a little long in the tooth so decided to throw it all together in a tropical version of Flour & Stone’s Lemon Dream Cake, (you can find the base recipe for this cake here).

There were a number of changes I made to the recipe. I added the following ingredients to the cake batter;
– The juice & zest of one lime
– 70g of desiccated coconut
– An additional 20g of self raising flour

I used a single 9×13 inch tray to bake the cake in rather than two 22cm diameter cake pans & once the cake batter was in the baking tin I drizzled a 170g tin of passionfruit syrup over the batter & then added the meringue on top of that.

I cooked the cake for an additional 15-20mins because the syrup had made it very moist. I didn’t bother with the lemon curd or whipped cream though a dollop of whipped coconut cream would actually go very nicely with this cake.

The resultant cake was really quite nice, the meringue came out crispier than usual due to the longer bake time but provided a really nice textural contrast to the cake. The cake itself was super moist & almost like a drizzle cake with the passion fruit syrup soaking all the way through.  I’m pretty happy with it & will most likely make it again in the future. It doesn’t look like the most tropical cake around but it certainly tasted it.