April 9, 2019
This is about...
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        TIME IS ALWAYS AT A PREMIUM FOR ME. AND, IT'S PROBABLY THE SAME FOR YOU. So this is the kind of recipe that I usually gravitate towards. It requires no more than simply stirring everything together in a baking pan, and popping it in the oven. Can't get much easier than that. In the U.S. we call it a sheet pan recipe, but in England, Nigella Lawson calls it A "TRAYBAKE."
        Now, with of all the ingredients in this recipe and the longish cooking time, you might think that the petit peas we're using are going to get way over baked. But, it's quite the contrary, since you start with them completely frozen --yup--right out of the freezer--- not only do they stay magically intact, getting sweeter and more delicious after cozying up to the leeks and chicken, but they also create a steamy baking environment. And, speaking of the leeks, they turn brown, crispy and caramelized on the outside and meltingly soft and sweet on the inside. Finally, the chicken that's nestled on top of the veggies bakes up nicely browned, with crispy skin, juicy and tender. ALL TOLD, YOU'LL INVEST MAYBE 10-15 MINUTES IN PREP TIME, AND THEN THE OVEN WILL DO ALL OF THE REST OF THE WORK. So without breaking a sweat, an hour and 15 minutes later, and you'll have a yummy meal.
        I like to add a side of small Yukon gold potatoes that I pan roast on top of the stove with some butter and salt while the chicken bakes. But, rice or mashed potatoes would be delicious too. Whatever you choose, you'll want a side to absorb the juices from the bottom of the pan. YUM!

LESSONS Learned:
1. The petite peas need to be frozen--right out of the freezer. Don't defrost them first.
2. Use the white and light green parts of the leeks. Rinse the cut pieces and check for any sandy soil trapped in the light green parts. You may need to trim off a few outer layers to remove that grit.
3. It's always best to remove the chicken from the fridge for about 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature before baking.
4. Try this with other chicken pieces--breasts, legs or even boneless breasts or thighs--just reduce the cooking time on the boneless ones.
5. This is easily doubled. Just make sure the pan is large enough, at least 11" x 15" or an half sheet pan size would work.

(slightly adapted from "At My Table" by Nigella Lawson)

3 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, about 1 pound
3 medium sized leeks, cut into 1-inch slices, about 7 ounces of cut slices
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons dry white vermouth, or white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1-2 more tablespoons for drizzling
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 of a small bunch of dill, large stems removes and roughly cut into 1 inch pieces
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 2-2 1/4 pounds

Make the traybake:
        Take the chicken out of the fridge, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
        While the oven is preheating, prep the leeks. Use only the white and light green parts of the leeks. ( reserve the rest for stock, if you like) Trim the outer leaves, and cut into 1" rounds. Rinse the cut pieces and check for any sandy soil trapped in the light green parts. You may need to trim off a few outer layers to remove the grit, and then thoroughly rinse again.
        Once the oven is up to temperature, add the frozen peas into an ungreased baking dish or roasting pan measuring at least 7" x 11", (although a little larger will work too. ) Break up any clumps of the peas. Add the leeks, garlic, vermouth, olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, a few grinds o the black pepper, and 3/4 of the dill. Combine everything well, and evenly spread it out on the pan.
        Evenly arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on top of the peas and leeks. Try not to have the pieces touching. Drizzle with another 1-2 Tablespoons or more of the olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.
        Roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and gently stir the peas, pressing any on the top down into the liquid so that they don't dry out. However, leave the leeks alone, because their tops that are peeking out will become caramelized and sweeter. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, (165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer,) and the skin is golden brown and crispy.
        Sprinkle the reserved dill over the dish. And serve with roasted, steamed or mashed potatoes. Or any grain of your choosing. Although you don't have to, I guarantee that you'll want something to soak up all of those juices in the bottom of the pan.

Makes 4 servings.         YUM!
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