Roast shallot-crusted chicken thighs with seasonal vegetables is an easy, crispy, flavourful, low-carb tray bake. A satisfying, balanced meal that will please the entire family!
During fall and winter it’s extra important to keep your immune system strong by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, if you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to face a cold salad when you’re already feeling chilly. Moreover, if you’re trying hard to eat local, your choices become limited by the season.
That’s natural. However, it’s also a good reason to turn to warming vegetable soups, and tray bakes. Fortunately, most winter vegetables bake up beautifully and you have a wide variety to choose from — cauliflower, broccoli, butternut, beetroot, squash, and sweet potatoes all come to mind.
Baking meat over vegetables is an age old strategy for an easy, flavourful main. As the meat cooks, it’s juices flow over the vegetables below, keeping them moist, tender, and well-seasoned. In short, it’s a match made in heaven.
In this recipe, I’ve chosen to use zucchinis, and patty pans, which are commonly available in Johannesburg all winter long. However, you can feel free to change the veggies according to your preferences and availability. The only caveat is that you will need to give hard squashes, such as butternut, and potatoes, a 30 minute head start in the oven so they’ll have plenty of time to cook through.
Since my husband and I have been focused on improving our nutrition and our health, I tend to investigate just about everything I put on the table — including zucchini. It’s amazing how many wonderful reasons there are to eat lots more of these healthy fruits. (Yes. You heard me right. Zucchini’s and patty pans are fruit!)
5 Good Reasons to Eat More Zucchini
Zucchini (also known as marrows or summer squash) range in colour from deep green to yellow. Typically, Zucchini is harvested throughout the summer and early fall.
However, in South Africa, we’re fortunate enough to have a climate that allows us to eat this super vegetable all year long! Whether zucchini is seasonal or year round where you live, it’s a vegetable you ought to be consuming a lot more of. Here are 5 wonderful reasons why zucchini should make a regular appearance on your table:
- Antioxidants: Zucchinis are a rich source of natural antioxidants. The antioxidants in zucchini help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Zucchinis are also rich in carotenoids and vitamin C. Did you know that one medium zucchini provides you with 50% of your daily requirement for vitamin C?
- Heart Healthy: Zucchinis are rich in pectin (as are apples and pears), a fibre that helps reduce cholesterol naturally. They are also an excellent source of potassium, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure.
- Low in Carbs and Calories: Due to their high water content, zucchinis are low in both carbs and calories. Hence they’re an excellent addition to your weight loss regime.
- Improves Digestion: Zucchini is recommended for people struggling with digestive issues, such as IBS, diverticulitis and leaky gut syndrome. This is because it is high in water, electrolytes, and nutrition. It is also very easy to digest.
- Helps Control Diabetes: Because it is low in sugar, yet rich in fibre, zucchini can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
About this Recipe
The magic of this recipe lies in the crispy shallot crust, which creates a delicious carb-free crunch. It’s like oven-fried chicken, without all the unnecessary carbs.
Okay fine, you say, but where do I find crispy shallots? Crispy shallots can be found in well-stocked Asian markets. I’ve used them here because their flavour is a bit milder than onions.
However, crispy onions are a great substitution, and are sold in most supermarkets. Often enough, you’ll find small packages of crispy onions near the croutons in the produce section.
Whether you use shallots or onions, I hope Shallot-Crusted Chicken Thighs become a regular and beloved part of your family’s menu. Bon appétit!
Roast Shallot-Crusted Chicken Thighs with Seasonal Vegetables
A delicious and easy one-dish meal that makes a family-friendly, low-carb mid-week supper.
- For the chicken
- 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) chicken thighs, about 8 pieces
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup crispy shallots (or onions)
- For the vegetables
- 600 grams zucchinis (marrows), and patty pans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 onion roughly cut into bite-sized chunks
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 180º C (350º F). In a medium bowl, toss the chicken thighs with olive oil and spices until thoroughly coated. Then add crispy shallots to the bowl and continue tossing until the chicken is thoroughly coated with the onions. Set aside.
- Step 2 Meanwhile, place all of the vegetables in a rectangular baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper, then toss with the olive oil to coat.
- Step 3 Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer on top of the vegetables and place on the centre rack in the oven for 35 minutes. When the chicken registers 75º C (165ºF) on an instant-read thermometer, it is ready to serve. Remove it from the oven, tent the tray with foil, and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.