When I was in London, I stumbled into a cookbook store, Books for Cooks, in Notting Hill. We were staying at an Airbnb near Portobello Market, a beautiful multi-story apartment with a roof deck that looked over the whole neighbourhood, and this quaint bookshop was located just a few steps away. Imagine that, me, a self-professed cookbook junkie, walking into a store stacked floor to ceiling with cookbooks and a test kitchen for trying out all the recipes. I couldn’t have been more ecstatic, and, of course, I went home with a cookbook or two.
The Roasting Tin, by Rukmini Iyer, came highly recommended by the friendly guy working behind the counter. He said they had tested a few of the recipes in the kitchen and everything was received with praises. However, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of a cookbook of recipes where you just toss everything into a tin and roast it. It seemed too easy and convenient (aka for people who can’t cook) but I bought it anyway because David Loftus’ photos were much too gorgeous and cheerful to pass up.
Look at that.
This post is as much about simple, delicious food as it is about turning our cooking instincts on its head. What do you mean you don’t have to brown the chicken thighs first?? What do you mean you only add water? Not chicken stock?? Counter to my intuition, dumping a few things into a tray and popping it into the oven can yield fantastic flavours, and this is one delicious proof of that. Roasted until the flavours meld together and the chickpeas yield its starch to thicken the sauce, the chicken comes out a golden crisp on top just as the recipe promises (without any browning in the beginning, I remind you) and the rest is a saucy history served over pasta.
You can also serve it simply with some good crusty bread to mop it up in (as Rukmini suggests) or even over mashed potatoes. And guess what, which I’m sure you’ve already figured out, it tastes even better the next day. Note to self: Stop being such a food snob.
I also picked up Rick Stein’s Long Weekends at the shop, check out this delicious Trapanese Pesto Pasta recipe I made from it. Sooooooo GOOD.
I had so many delicious meals on my London trip and you can read about my new favourite London eats compiled here.
For a London food memory from the past, check out this Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta recipe that takes me back to earlier London trips with my Mom and will always top one of my favourite plates of pasta to eat ever.
Chicken with Chickpeas, Chorizo and Tomatoes
What you need:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
100g spicy chorizo, sliced
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1.4 kg free range chicken thighs and drumsticks ( 2 pieces per person – scale up if feeding those with a larger appetite)
1 T olive oil
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the onion, garlic, rosemary, chorizo, chickpeas and tomatoes in a roasting tin, and use the water to rinse out the tomato tin before pouring it in with everything else. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Arrange the chicken thighs over the tomato mixture (don’t submerge in sauce, keep it on top, this is what will ensure the crispiness) and rub with the olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, then transfer to the oven and roast for 40 minutes.
3. Turn the heat up to 392°F and roast for a further 50 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Taste the sauce, season as needed with sea salt and black pepper, and serve hot.