one pan fragrant roast chicken

One pan fragrant roast chicken with crunchy chickpeas and vegetables

My students love a good one pan, throw it in the oven dinner so I think you’ll love this. I just got back from teaching a week of classes in California and I’ve already had loads of pictures of this one pan fragrant roast chicken dish from my students after they’ve recreated it at home.

Below are four flavour combinations and finishing touches that will take the exact same recipe in a totally different direction. You can also switch the chicken for salmon or lamb once you’ve cracked the recipe.

I find that the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) make this substantial enough, but if you are feeding hungry people you may want to serve this with bread or put some halved baby potatoes into the pan along with the chickpeas at the start of cooking. Alternatively, you could serve this on a platter of cous cous or quinoa.

I like to make a big batch of this for dinner and save plenty back for lunchtime salads and quick dinners on subsequent days. My best discoveries often come when I’m fridge foraging, have only myself to please and adding things to leftovers.

Choose the best baking tray for the job

The bigger your cooking dish, and the more spread out your ingredients, the sooner they will dry out in the oven, so ideally everything will sit snugly but in a single layer with the chicken sitting on top of the veg and beans. If it is too crowded it will cook more slowly and steam rather than roast.

Adjust the timings

The timings below are based on using UK sized chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on. Like many things, the thighs in the US tend to be bigger so add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time if you have big (chicken) thighs. Take 10 minutes off the cooking time if using lamb or boneless chicken. If you are using fish, add the fish along with the green vegetables for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

One Pan Fragrant Roast Chicken Ingredients (serves 4)

The core:

  • 4-8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1x 400g (14oz) can – 240g (8.5oz) drained weight – of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 teaspoons rapeseed or olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Around 200g (7oz) of green beans, tenderstem broccoli or asparagus
  • 100g (3.5oz) watercress or rocket (arugula)

The bits to play around with: (see other flavour options below this recipe)

  • 200g (7oz) baby tomatoes – if you have time on your hands to count, around 20 of them
  • 1-2 red peppers (bell peppers in the US)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 stems of rosemary
  • 120ml (half a cup) Fino sherry or Marsala
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 30g (1oz) Italian or flat leaf parsley

To make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan ) or 400°F and get your chicken out of the fridge – the cooler it is the longer the cooking time will be.
  2. Take a large metal or pyrex baking tray with sides around 2 inches tall – line it with foil or parchment if you want to simplify the washing up later.
  3. Drain your chickpeas and toss them onto the baking tray.
  4. Pop your rosemary on the tray too, leave the stems intact, no need to chop.
  5. Tumble the tomatoes onto the tray with the chickpeas. No need to chop them as they will burst in the oven.
  6. Chop the bell pepper into quarters then cut each quarter in half so you are left with sizeable chunks. If you chop them too small they will disappear as they roast. Add them to the tray. (Watch my pepper chopping video).
  7. Squish the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them, with the skins still on, to the tray. The garlic will steam inside the skin giving a lovely sweetness.
  8. Give the tray a shake so that everything is spread pretty evenly.
  9. Use scissors to cut excess skin from the chicken thighs – I just cut the bit off that flaps around uselessly underneath. You want to leave the skin on the top and sides to protect the chicken and to help produce enough oil for the rest of the ingredients to cook in. Put the snipped chicken onto the tray, making sure it sits on top of the rosemary so that the rosemary doesn’t burn, then wash your hands.
  10. Sprinkle the smoked paprika, salt and pepper on to the chicken skin then drizzle everything with the sherry and a couple of teaspoons of oil before putting it into the oven, or setting aside in the fridge if you are prepping ahead.
  11. Cook for 25-35 minutes if using chicken on the bone, or 15 minutes if using boneless thighs. Then add the green beans, tenderstem broccoli or asparagus to the tray. Give it a bit of a toss then return to the oven the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  12. Remove the tray from the oven. Discard the rosemary. Check the chicken is cooked through by flipping it over so that the non skin side is uppermost, then piercing the thickest part with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear you are good to go. If there is any pink in the juice pop it back in the oven.
  13. Using a spatula, squish the garlic from the skins, it should come out pleasingly like toothpaste from a tube. Squish the tomatoes slightly and add sherry vinegar and chopped parsley before mixing and tasting. Keep adjusting the vinegar, salt and pepper until you are delighted with it, then serve it – either straight onto warmed plates or onto a bed of rocket or watercress. Be sure to scrape all the juices from the pan with a silicone spatula.

Here are some other versions to try that use the exact same technique.

Keep the core ingredients and replace the ‘bits to play around with’ with these ingredients…

  1. Quinoa, date, carrot and lemon with cumin.

This is a great one to make in individual ovenproof containers that you can then store in the fridge and grab and go for lunch on the run. The quinoa cooks in the oven and absorbs the chicken juices. The edges of the quinoa go lovely and crunchy.

Be sure to cook this in a dish with sides such as a lasagna dish, rather than a baking sheet.

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, left whole
  • 120ml (½ a cup) white wine or stock
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into little finger sized strips
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 4 Medjool dates, stoned and cut into quarters
  • 170g (1 cup) raw quinoa
  • Around 400ml (just under 2 cups) boiling water. You just want it to come to the top of the quinoa when it is in the dish. This will vary depending on the size of your dish so use sight rather than measuring it.
  • Toss with – lemon juice or pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper, chopped watercress, coriander or parsley. Sprinkle with dukkah or crumbled feta.
  1. Olive, caper, rosemary and honey

If you feel the need for a holiday this may help you pretend for just one meal that you are somewhere in Greece. I love this served simply with warm bread and leafy greens. Don’t forget the honey.

  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 8 Kalamata olives, squished but the stone left in
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 stems of rosemary
  • 180ml (¾ cup) white wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic, squished but skins left on
  • Toss with – 30-60g (1-2oz) chopped Italian parsley, a drizzle of honey, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Remind people about the olive stones!
  1. Lemon, caper and basil

So simple and fresh. You could add a chopped red pepper to this too if you fancy. I love the chicken shredded off the bone after it is cooked and then the chicken, veg, chickpeas and all the lovely juices stirred through cooked pasta along with a little of the pasta cooking water to make a simple sauce. In fact, I usually make double the amount of this so that I can make pasta with the leftovers later in the week.

  • 4 cloves of garlic, squished but skins left on
  • Juice and zest of a lemon (keep the empty lemon halves and add them to the pan)
  • ½ tablespoon capers
  • 180ml (¾ cup) white wine
  • 30-60g (1-2oz) basil leaves torn and added to the pan for the last minute of cooking
  • Finish with – lemon juice, salt and pepper.


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