A healthy comfort dish, simple in its assembly but livened up by some Middle Eastern spices and Pomegranate, the juice makes a lovely sauce in itself but you can top with some pesto sauce if you fancy.
If you need inspiration for midweek meals, we would recommend one pot meals like this. Low fuss level but full of flavour. Inspired by a recipe from Xanthe Clay’s book The Contented Cook, the ruby pearls of pomegranate will add a depth of sour-sweet juice and add some colour to your evening at this rather grey time of year.
I was lucky enough to meet Xanthe, food writer at the Telegraph as well as author of cookbooks, at a writing workshop organised by Vanessa Kimbell at her cookery school Juniper and Rose. Generous and wise with her advice and insights, I came away with lots of tips and lots to think about in terms of where to take the food writing we do here.
Beyond our cokoing and writing though, lots of things are going on . You will have possibly heard about our supperclub (which we are lucky enough to have had some local press interest from – which we will add links to when they come live), the seasonal goodies (this season is of course perfect to offer Yule Log) and some pop up events such as this one at the Mill Road Winter Fair in Cambridge.
Enough about us, let’s get back to the food. Colourful food can only be good for the soul, and in the depths of winter, you will hopefully enjoy this one pot roast chicken dish dotted with pomegranate and spiced gently with the middle eastern spice Za’atar. It is a mix of spices including oregano and marjoram as well as sesame seed and powdered sumac (a lemony flavoured dried berry). A little lasts a long while and we have used it before as you can see here. Worth seeking out if you want to try something different. It works wonderfully on flatbreads as well as to season meat, fish or vegetables before grilling. Before I go on, I must confess I am not normally a lover of chicken leg, preferring the breastmeat, but a slow roast and well spiced meat makes this flavourful meat one that even the fussiest eaters will enjoy.
We made this a complete one-pot meal by placing garlic, wedges of red onion and thinkly sliced potatoes at the bottom. If you prefer, you can leave out the potatoes and serve with rice, as Xanthe does in her book. She also serves her version with a delicious coriander and walnut pesto but I had no fresh coriander at the time so used readymade green pesto and it did not feel an awkward pairing with the Za’atar.
Our version made enough for two, with enough for us share out bits of meat and vegetables with the littlies, but if yours are older it is an easy recipe to scale up. You can also add other vegetables. Squash for example would be a great substitute for the potato here.
- 2 large waxy potatoes
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 large red onion
- 2 Chicken Legs
- 1 tablespoon Za'atar
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 50ml (quarter cup) chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Chopped fresh basil (optional)
- 2 teaspoons Green Pesto (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200DegC (190 Fan oven) /390DegF (370 Fan Oven) Slice the potatoes. You need to make these as thin as possible so if you have a mandoline, great or use a sharp knife. By cutting thinly you will not need to precook the potatoes and they will crisp up nicely with the roasting.
- Layer these in the bottom of a roasting dish and top with chopped garlic and wedges of red onion
- Place the Chicken legs on the vegetables and scatter the Za'atar, salt and pepper over them, allowing some to drift onto the vegetables though you will find they will pick up flavour with the basting juices during roasting.
- Drizzle with olive oil and pour the stock over the meat and vegetables.
- Roast for 45 minutes until the meat is throughly cooked and browned. It will make for tenderer meat if you scoop up some of the basting juices about half way through to soak the chicken.
- Remove from oven onto a cooling rack and scatter over the pomegranate seed and basil.
- If you want to add some pesto, add a scooped teaspoon to the top of each chicken leg. The heat will help melt and spread the sauce nicely.
I am adding this to Karen at Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs linkup given the use of basil.