Cooking with Mama Ruth | Mama Ruth Makes Chicken and Chorizo BakeAfter a busy day at work or trip out with the family, the last thing you feel like doing when you come home is making dinner, but whenever this happens you can guarantee that everyone will be starving!

Picking up a take-away seems like the easy option but leaves us with that guilty feeling. I aim to have things in the fridge and cupboard that I can just throw together with minimum effort, but still create something fresh that everyone will love. I’ve yet to find someone who didn’t come back for second helpings of this, so make plenty!

Ingredients

My ingredient list is for 6 portions as that suits my family, but if there are any leftovers, it’s fantastic cold in a salad the following day for lunch, or you can adjust the quantities to cook less.

12 Chicken Thighs – Ideally with skin on as this adds to the flavour and is cheaper, but my kids are fussy with skin and bones so I opt for the thigh ‘fillets’ instead.

750g Chorizo – You can buy baby ones which make it look posh if you have visitors and want to impress, but I just buy a whole one and chop it into ½ inch slices.

1kg New Potatoes – Any sort of salad potato will do, whatever is on offer! TIP – Cheaper ones tend to be larger, this will not affect the flavour so if they are larger than about 1 inch then chop them in half.

2 Red Onions – You could use white onions at a push, but red ones really do have better flavour when roasted and get lovely and sticky. TIP – Kids often get fussy about onion being hidden in food, so chop into big wedges so they know they can be seen and encourage them to taste the extra sticky ones. They always go first in my house. If these are popular in your house – add more!

1 Large Sweet Potato – Or a couple of smaller ones, or omit altogether if preferred, it just adds extra flavour and an extra vegetable on the plate without adding washing up. TIP – Peel and chop into 2 inch chunks. They will roast quicker than the new potatoes so need to be bigger.

1 Large Orange – You are only grating the skin (zest) so any sort will do. If it’s nice and fresh you’ll be able to use the flesh too for eating or juicing – nothing gets wasted in my kitchen!

2 Tsp Dried Oregano – A kitchen staple, lovely for BBQ’s or any Mediterranean based dish. TIP – keep the lid on tight and store in a cool, dark place. This will last much longer than the best before date, but the flavour will fade slightly so just use a bit more. If you are lucky enough to have some in your garden use that.

2 Tbs Olive Oil – Ideally cheap olive oil, no need to waste that lovely green extra virgin oil. Save this for your salads. If you’ve not got any olive oil use something light like sunflower or vegetable oil. TIP – Don’t be tempted to put extra in, you really don’t need it. Lots of oils come out of the chicken and Chorizo.

Garlic – Any shape or sort you have. It could be powder to shake over the top, whole fresh or preserved cloves to drop into the bake, or ready chopped from a jar just to spread around liberally – your choice. I use about a dozen cloves in mine, but it’s completely up to taste. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you really don’t like it don’t put it in (no one who’s ever been in my kitchen will believe I’m saying that bit either!) We love garlic in our house.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C / 200 C Fan / 425 F / Gas Mark 7.

2. You’ll need a large tray, either an oven tray, a roasting tin, or a lovely ceramic one about the same size as your oven shelf. TIP – If your tray isn’t this big use two or more, cramming everything into one tray will stop it from roasting properly and you really won’t get the same flavour or enjoy it as much.

Cooking with Mama Ruth | Mama Ruth Makes Chicken and Chorizo Bake3. Then chuck in all the big bits! Chicken thighs, onion wedges, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, Chorizo chunks (garlic cloves if you are using them) and then the oil. Use a large spoon, or in my kitchen nice clean hands, and make sure everything is oiled and spread out nicely.

4. Finely grate or zest the orange over the top of the whole tray, and sprinkle on the oregano and garlic powder if you are using this instead of whole cloves.

5. Pop in the pre-heated oven for a total of 1.5 hours. TIP – As the Chorizo cooks lots of beautiful red, paprika filled oil will leak out into the tray which makes a gorgeous sauce and has a lovely warm flavour. After an hour, stir everything and turn the ‘big bits’ over to make sure everything is covered in this lovely oil – this is called basting.

6. Season – salt and black pepper all over, the salt is probably more important to the flavour than the pepper.

7. Serve with whatever you like, something green looks nice and is healthy. Frozen peas popped in the microwave is easy, but to enhance that faint peppery flavour of the paprika a simply dressed pile of rocket is great, or my favourite is French beans griddled in garlic butter – yum!

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