There are few things my family can agree on food-wise, but this one has elements we all like. It’s an easy one to separate into a vegetarian* dish and a meat dish. I also did a little experimenting with this recipe, so my notes on the dish can be found at the bottom of the post. The apple mixes nicely throughout, and adds just a hint of tart flavor, while the potatoes give it a nice winter component. The great thing about this recipe is that as long as the vegetables and chicken have similar cooking times, you can customize it to what you have around really easily.
The inspiration for this one goes to Gimme Some Oven. Although I’ve played around with the recipe to change it slightly (and plan to keep toying with it in the future- hummus tofu anyone?) the credit belongs to GSO. I find a lot of inspiration there, so please give it some traffic!
I make this recipe so often I almost didn’t remember where it came from. It first became a staple when my son was going through a picky phase around 1 (we did baby-led weaning so there were some challenges in finding healthy yet safe foods) but since then it’s become something I’ve made for guests, family, and whenever I can’t think of anything else to put on the menu. It also makes great leftovers.
- 3-4 chicken breasts
- about 1 cup hummus (I used pine nut, but other flavors work as well. Spicy would be good!)
- 4 potatoes, peeled (see my notes at the end for more on this)
- 2 regular sized zucchini or 3 small zucchini
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp paprika
- about 1 tsp dried rosemary
- Optional side: About 1 cup of uncooked quinoa.
*If making a vegetarian option, make sure you have two pans: one for chicken and veggies and one for just vegetables.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees for glass pans, or 450 for dark roasting pans. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray, or rub it with vegetable shortening (a good primer on the pros and cons of both can be found here)
- Prep your fruit and veggies!
- Peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes; you want them about bite-sized so they’ll cook through.
- Peel the onion and give it a rough chop. Remember, onions cook down so don’t worry about getting them too small.
- Wash the zucchini and cut them into coins, or if it’s an exceptionally large vegetable, in halves.
- Peel the apple and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Transfer all the veggies except the apple into a bowl and season with salt, pepper, parsley, paprika and some of the rosemary. Reserve some of the rosemary for garnish if desired, or if you’re like me and already getting lots of rosemary from the garden thanks to the unusually warm winter.
- Transfer the vegetables to your cooking dish or dishes, spreading them in an even layer. Crowded is okay. Add the apple in, spreading the pieces evenly throughout the dish.
- Pat the chicken dry with a towel on both sides. It needs to be very dry or the excess moisture will cause the hummus will slide off during cooking. I usually pat, let it rest, and pat again. There’s plenty of moisture in this recipe, so don’t worry about drying it out.
- Scoop about a cup of hummus into a bowl. (This ensures you won’t cross-contaminate your hummus.) Use a spoon to cover the upward-facing sides of the chicken with an even layer of hummus.
- Transfer the chicken to the baking pan gently, laying it on top of the veggies. Make sure your chicken pieces don’t crowd each other or it won’t crust correctly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, keeping in mind the size of your chicken breasts and watching the crust carefully. It should be browned and even, but not too dark. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, garnishing with the extra rosemary if desired.
Cooking and Serving Notes
- You’ll notice in the title that I mentioned quinoa as a side. This is the first time I’ve incorporated potatoes and apple into the dish, and after plating it all, I don’t think the quinoa is necessary. However, if you’re looking for a hearty meal, or will not be eating the chicken, a side of quinoa works. I buy my quinoa in bulk and cook it a cup or so at a time in water and vegetable broth. If you’re unfamiliar with this amazing dish, I’d recommend using the always delicious cooking method from Cookie + Kate (another favorite cooking blog of mine.)
- As you can see from the photos, the potatoes are a little overdone. I parboiled them, thinking they wouldn’t cook through, but I won’t do that again. I used baking potatoes because they were in the pantry and needed to be used, but I’d recommend red with the skins left on. Coated in a bit of oil they cook up crispy and just right. However, if all you have is baking potatoes, don’t be turned off- this is the real world, after all.
- As the vegetarian in the family, I realize this isn’t a full meal and is very starchy, even with the quinoa. I paired it with a salad, but in the future I’d like to try this with tofu or seitan. Stay tuned for that!
Have a great week, RWC! There’s a lot in this post so feel free to discuss in the comments!