New Recipe: This chicken dish is healthy, comforting and mercifully easy

I’m not sure how, but it seems to still be January. I was doing pretty well for a while with the new year regime, starting the day with a smoothie packed with all manner of nonsense from Holland and Barrett, attempting to limit carbs and alcohol and up the amount of veg I was eating. I’d say I’m now managing more of a damp than a dry January, and I’m pleased to announce that toast has come back into my life. No further questions at this time.

Where there was an early flurry of enthusiasm for new dishes there is now a hankering for the no-recipe recipes I fall back on again and again – the pasta sauces, eggs and tray bakes, the instructions for which are just in my head. They’re still plenty healthy, but they’re comforting too, and mercifully easy. I make endless versions of this chicken traybake throughout the year, tweaking it depending on what’s in season or what I’m craving; I might swap the orange for plums and star anise in autumn, or roast the pieces alongside apricots, lemon and basil in the height of summer. With this iteration, I quite often roast the chicken on top of slices of squash, which absorb some of the juices and become soft and nutty while the chicken cooks. A few chunks of waxy potato would be good too – just make sure you don’t overcrowd your roasting tray or nothing will brown as you want it to.

I’m serving this sticky chicken with warm couscous cooked with chicken stock and a bit of orange peel, a fennel and mint salad, and a bowl of Greek yogurt mixed with a little olive oil, salt, grated garlic and lemon.

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