Tough days often call for one thing: comfort food. Like a warm embrace, our favourite dinner or baked treat can have the power to melt away our worries with every mouthful. Candice Brown, 2016 winner of The Great British Bake-Off, is no stranger to this idea. Her motto? From cooking to eating, food should be a joy every step of the way. Her latest cookbook, Happy Cooking, explores this idea with great candour, as personal stories and anecdotes are intertwined with the recipes that have comforted and inspired her the most.
Candice Brown’s Spicy Chicken and Cashew Traybake is of those wonderful one-tray, bang-it-in meals. You get so much lovely flavour from chicken thighs and they don’t dry out like chicken breasts.
Skip the potatoes and serve with rice or couscous instead or shred it all up and whack it in a flour tortilla for a little fajita vibe. Lazy cooking at its best for when you really can’t be bothered. (You can even skip the ‘making your own seasoning’ bit if you want – just get a readymade one and sprinkle to your heart’s content.)
See also: Julia Levy’s El Completo Chilean Loaded Hot Dogs
Cooking time: 40 min
|1||Yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced|
|1||Red pepper, deseeded and sliced|
|1||Red onion, chopped|
|2||Red chillies, finely chopped|
|10||Cherry tomatoes, halved|
|6||Garlic cloves, peeled|
|3||Sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges|
|150g||Chorizo, skin removed and cut into 3mm slices|
|150g||Green or black olives, pitted|
|Soured cream, to serve|
For the Cajun Spice Mix:
|2 tbsp||Smoked paprika|
|½ tbsp||Cayenne pepper|
|1 tsp||Chilli flakes|
|1 tbsp||Garlic salt|
|1 tbsp||Freshly ground black pepper|
|½ tbsp||Onion powder|
|½ tbsp||Dried oregano|
|½ tbsp||Dried thyme|
|½ tbsp||Cumin seeds|
You will need: a large baking tray and a clean, dry jar.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4).
- Add all the Cajun spice mix ingredients to a clean, dry jar, put on the lid and give it a really good shake. You will have more seasoning than you need for this recipe, but it will keep for about six months.
- Drizzle some olive oil over a large baking tray and swirl it around to coat the tray.
- Put the peppers, onion, chillies, tomatoes, garlic, sweet potatoes and chorizo into a large bowl. Drizzle over a little oil and give it a good rub and mix. Sprinkle over ½ tablespoon of the Cajun spice mix and give it another good mix. Tip the spiced veg on to the prepared tray and spread out evenly across the tray.
- Add the chicken to the bowl and rub in another 1 tablespoon of Cajun spice mix, really massaging it into the chicken. Place the chicken on top of the prepared veg and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and, using a fish slice or spatula, give everything a good mix. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven, drizzle over the honey, sprinkle over the olives and cashews and mix lightly.
- Check the chicken and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Cooking the chicken skin-side up will give crispy skin if you’re using chicken with the skin on.
- Check the chicken is cooked, especially if you are using thighs with the bones in, there should be no pink flesh visible.
Serve the traybake as it is with a bit of everything.
See also: Richard Bertinet’s Peach & Rosemary Almond Tarts