June 06, 2011
One Pan Chicken Dinner meets Cholula Chili Garlic Sauce
Clean up, it should be said, is fairly easy. In fact, the whole darn thing is easy! Choose the flavour profile you want to base your dinner on, and then season up your chicken parts accordingly (and your vegetable parts, too). Mexican flavours are always a good choice, but so are Indian, Italian, and Moroccan. Place your (bone in) chicken parts in the corners of your dish (you can line the dish with foil for even easier clean up, but any large baking dish or edged cookie tray will do. The more you're making, the bigger the tray you will need, obviously.
As I am continuing to work my way through the Cholula Hot Sauces that were sent to me, it was time to give the Chili Garlic variation a try, and push the dish slightly Mexican. Love chiles, love garlic, love both on chicken, so it was a good bet that I'd like the sauce. I was also pleased to see that the ingredient list didn't have any unexpectedly peculiar additions.
Tasting the sauce straight up, I found it to be flavourful, and very simple. It's fairly mild, as hot sauces go, certainly milder tasting than the classic Cholula. This makes it rather multi-purpose - I can see it being used to zest up all manner of dips and sauces - where I add chile, I'm also liable to add garlic, so there are likely many uses for this one, both in the cooking stages and the finishing stages.
In this instance, I painted the chicken thighs (skin on, bone in) with the Cholula Chili Garlic sauce before putting the pan in the oven. At that point, there was really only the chicken, the chunks of sweet potato, and the mushrooms in the dish. The chicken is baked at 400℉ for 45 minutes, so more delicate vegetables, such as the cauliflower and zucchini, were added later. The cauliflower was tossed with a little vegetable oil, salt, and ground cumin, which played nicely with the hot sauce. It was added half way through the cooking process, at which point I also re-lacquered the chicken with Cholula.
At the end, when the chicken came out of the oven, it got a final coat (each additional coat was from a fresh brush, of course; I have no desire to court cross-contamination in my kitchen). The zucchini could have used a turn part way through, but that didn't happen; what you can't see, though, is that bottom sides of those pale zucchini chunks were all golden brown and delicious. The excess chicken fat runs off of the thighs and spreads through the bottom of the dish, touching each vegetable with a rich kiss of chicken-y goodness. You can use whatever vegetables you like, of course, providing they are good roasters. I frequently use yellow potatoes, brussels sprouts, whole garlic cloves, carrot chunks, fennel bulb quarters, and even turnips or parsnips. Whatever roasting-friendly veggies you have in your crisper will do. Add them based on the required cooking time, of course.
The chicken was very tasty, in its crisp, crackling armour of hot sauce. It retained enough of the garlic flavour to be noticed, and went beautifully with the cumin-y cauliflower and the chunks of sweet potato. I would definitely do this one again.