Shredded chicken traybake
I am ALL about traybakes at the moment!
A few weeks ago there was internet fever over a traybake dish involving pasta, tomatoes and a block of feta cheese. I’m not going to tell you more as it’s not very healthy (and so salty!) but it was popular for two reasons: firstly, deliciousness and secondly, minimal clean up – and who’s not a fan of that?
There’s another aspect to traybakes though, and that is that the dish contains all the juices produced during cooking, which means tons of flavour in your dish. It’s a wonderful way to pack lots of flavour into a healthy meal.
For this recipe, all you need is a large metal or ceramic dish plus a bowl to brine the chicken; you’ll be cooking the rice in a large pan too. But that’s really all you need. It’s not a use every pan in the kitchen kinda deal. As a bonus, there should be leftovers so this is a cook once, eat twice scenario. Yay!
As with most of my recipes, this one is pretty flexible. Want to make it with quinoa instead of rice? Go for it. Switch the paprika to chili? Also fine. Remove the garlic? No big deal (try adding some Italian herbs instead). Switch the chicken for salmon or tofu? Also possible. Once you get the hang of how to do this in principle, it will become an incredibly versatile option that you can use any time you like. Give it a try this weekend and let me know what you think!
Shredded Chicken Traybake
(serves 2 with leftovers)
1.5 cups wholegrain rice
1 vegetable stock cube (optional)
2 organic chicken breasts
Light olive oil
1 punnet baby tomatoes
1 yellow pepper, seeds removed, finely sliced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, finely sliced
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
4 spring onions, loosely chopped (white and green parts)
1 cup frozen peas
1. Pop the rice on to cook in lots of boiling water. Add a vegetable stock cube to the water if you like, for extra flavour. Keep an eye on it and drain when it’s tender. Set to one side. Don’t overcook! We love brown basmati rice. Wild rice mixes also work well but allow for a longer cooking time.
2. Preheat the oven to 450F.
3. Next step is to brine the chicken. This keeps it super moist – no dry chicken breasts here. Add a tablespoon of salt to a large bowl of lukewarm water. Soak the chicken for a least 15 minutes (no more than 6 hours). Remove the chicken, rinse well to wash off the salt and pat it dry.
4. Make a spice rub from ½ tsp salt, the black pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Rub onto both sides of the chicken and set to one side.
5. Brush a large metal or ceramic baking dish with light olive oil. Scatter in the baby tomatoes (whole) and the finely chopped peppers and red onion.
6. Scatter over the minced garlic.
7. Place the chicken breasts on top and bake in the oven for 15 to18 minutes. The veggies should have softened. The chicken should be a little crispy on the outside but still juicy. Internal temp of the chicken should reach 165F.
8. When it’s out of the oven, reduce the oven heat to 350F for the next step. Cover the dish in foil for ten minutes to allow the chicken to rest. Sounds like a silly step but the result is chicken that’s much more moist!
9. Once that’s done, shred the chicken in the dish using two forks. Pull it apart and mix it in with the veggies. Taste the veggies/sauce. Add a dash more garlic and smoked paprika if you like.
10. Add in the rice, frozen peas and spring onions. The peas and onions add an amazing pop of colour! Toss it all together and bake back in the oven (uncovered) for ten minutes.
11. Serve with green salad on the side, or add extra green veggies to the dish itself (zucchini/broccoli would work well). Enjoy!
Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram