When I first worked in the West End of London it was stuffed with tiny corner sandwich bars, inexpensive and innovative. I’d be given the lunch list and as a daily customer buying quite a lot, I often got a discount. It didn’t pay to bring my own lunch and anyway, I rarely had any food in my fridge at home to make supper from, let alone a packed lunch.
As prices have risen and we’ve all become more conscious of what we eat, taking a packed lunch is the sensible option. I love playing around with flavours to create something that I know will be just as tasty the next day. Cooked onions and garlic are often sweeter with a night for the flavours to develop, so stews, curries, or even left over veggies blitzed into soup with a little water and a stock cube, can be great the next day. When I’ve had to take a packed lunch, there was always access to the microwave to consider, so I took something that would be as delicious hot or cold.
I was asked by Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine from money-saving site VoucherCodes.co.uk to create a delicious recipe for four with leftovers all for under ten pounds. This economical dish of crispy, slightly spicy chicken with sweet roasted vegetables and garlicky rice is a perfect supper dish and with the meat cut up and the veggies mixed into the rice, is great either hot or cold for the following day and could even do the day after too. All for under a tenner.
All In One Roast Chicken With Onion And Garlic Rice
Serves 6 or 4 with leftovers
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped,
- 1 head of garlic peeled and cloves separated
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 6 chicken thighs on the bone
- 600g (4 ) courgettes
- 1 small (820g) butternut squash
- 4 onions (610g)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
- 420g long grain rice
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 4 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 160c fan/ 180c/ 325f
- Mix the cumin, coriander, chilli and 2 crushed cloves of garlic with 1 tablespoon of oil to form a paste.
- Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs and set aside
- Cut the courgettes in half lengthways then into approximately 4 cm pieces place in a medium size roasting tray
- Peel and de-seed the butternut squash and cut into similar size pieces as the courgettes. Add to the roasting tray with the remainder of the head of garlic keeping 2 cloves for the rice
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the mixed herbs, pour over 1 tablespoon of oil and toss everything together until it is well mixed, then spread evenly across the tray
- Peel and cut 2 of the onions into quarters, place on top of the vegetables and top with the chicken thighs
- Place in the oven for 35 minutes until the chicken is crisp and the vegetables cooked through.
For the rice
- Cook the rice according to the manufacturers instructions, adding a stock cube to the water it’s cooked in
- Peel and finely chop the remaining onion and add to a pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil, cook until translucent, add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and cook over a low heat until soft and fragrant.
- Add the onion to the cooked rice and stir to combine
- Finely chop the parsley and add to the rice just before serving
To assemble the dish
- Place a large spoonful of rice on the plate, top with the vegetables and chicken
Using The Leftovers For Packed Lunch
- Chop the leftover vegetables into smaller pieces and toss with the remaining rice
- Slice the chicken off the bone and place on top of the veg rice mix
- Eat hot or cold
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