Earlier this year, when I asked you what you want to read about here, the recurring theme was “easy weeknight dinners made in one pot.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw those words because a) that’s totally my jam these days, too and b) I’m writing a book on the very topic, which confirms I’m on the right track with my work.
For obvious reasons, I can’t dish on all the meals I’ve been creating, but last week I put one together specifically with you in mind. It’s adapted from one my favourite new cookbooks, Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark, and hits all the hallmarks of a quality family meal. One pan? Check. Healthy? Check. Quick cooking? If you think 40 minutes of mostly hands-off time is quick (I do), then yes, check.
My favourite thing about this dish is that it brings big flavour to the table without intimidating the cook, and can easily be tweaked to cater to the ever-changing taste buds of a toddler. Two-year-olds are nothing if not fickle, especially when it comes to food, and while I really think I have a great eater on my hands, what he likes one day is totally despised the next, so having some flexibility with what I cook is key for me right now.
This meal has so much more going for it than just its adaptability. The spicy harissa-roasted chicken, crisp potatoes, fork-tender asparagus and garlic and herb-infused yogurt bring a brightness to the table that’s been absent since early last fall, and while this dinner is perfectly suited to an average Wednesday night, it easily does double-duty as a meal worthy of serving to your guests. Like all sheet pan suppers, take care not to crowd the pan. The recipe doubles easily (which is what I had to do to feed my family), but requires the use of two pans so you can spread everything out instead of crowding the pieces into one place.
Harissa Chicken with Potatoes and Asparagus
Serves 3 to 4
You can serve this one-pan dinner right on the baking sheet it’s cooked on, or transfer everything to a platter before drizzling with yogurt if you want to be fancy about it. To serve to toddlers, keep some of the chicken and a few pieces of potato separate from the ones tossed with the harissa mixture, and instead drizzle them with olive oil and a small sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake on the side of the sheet pan beside the spiced meat and potatoes.
1 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
1 ¼ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons harissa
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound asparagus spears, ends trimmed and cut into thirds
Zest of 1 scrubbed lemon
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove
1 cup parsley and/or dill
1. Combine the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons of the salt, harissa and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pour over the chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine asparagus, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining olive oil. Set aside.
4. Arrange the chicken and potatoes in a single layer on the sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Flip the potatoes, scatter the asparagus over the pan and roast for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until everything is golden and crisp.
5. While the chicken cooks, place the yogurt in a small bowl. Grate the garlic over the yogurt, mince half the fresh herbs and add to the bowl along with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
6. Remove the chicken from the oven and let cool for five minutes. Spoon the yogurt over the chicken and vegetables and garnish with remaining fresh herbs, tearing them into pieces and sprinkling them over the pan. Drizzle with additional olive oil and fresh lemon juice, if desired. Serve warm.