1.20.17 Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken and Carrots with Harissa Yogurt Sauce
Our home these days feels like utter chaos. The toddler runs amok, climbing on everything, zeroing in on the dog’s water dish (and spilling it everywhere) every 5 minutes, and continuing to hone his (very impressive) shrieking skills. The dog won’t stop barking or stealing socks. My winter boots constantly seem to be filled with Leo’s alphabet magnets. The fact is, we’ve all come down with a bad case of cabin fever after spending so much time trapped indoors due to a seemingly constant barrage of freezing rain and ice. These days, the idea of making dinner can seem a bit insurmountable. Our saving grace at times like this is the sheet pan meal.
Sheet pan meals are a godsend, being as how they require little more than tossing various vegetables and usually some meat with olive oil and spices, throwing it all on one big sheet pan and tossing it into the oven. I am then free to return to the surrounding mayhem until roughly 40 minutes later, when, as if by magic, the oven produces a big sheet pan full of roasty, delicious dinner. It’s so hands off, that I often thank goodness for our loud oven timer, without which many a sheet pan dinner would be forgotten and burned beyond recognition.
The other night seemed the perfect night to take advantage of this most sanity-saving cooking method. I chopped up some veggies: carrots (rainbow carrots obviously, because we can all use a little color these days), fennel, onion, garlic, and thinly sliced lemon for a much needed hit of bright citrus. I added some chicken thighs and tossed it all together with plenty of olive oil and zatar, a middle eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme, salt, and sesame seeds. I finished things off with a spicy yogurt that I drizzled over everything after it emerged from the oven. Warmed by the roasted meat and veggies, the yogurt coated everything in delicious sauce, necessitating some warm pita bread to mop it all up. Deliciously satisfying, and it couldn’t be easier.
Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken and Carrots with Harissa Yogurt Sauce
Zatar (also spelled za’atar) is a middle eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, and salt. Harissa is a North African hot chile pepper paste. I pretty much always have both in my kitchen at all times as they are great for adding flavor to roasted veggies, grilled meat, scrambled eggs - all kinds of things really. I tend to buy my zatar from Penzeys, though making your own is easy to do. I usually make my own harissa, but have had good results with the Trader Joe’s brand as well.
- 6 large carrots, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored and cut into thin wedges
- ½ red onion, cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
- 1 lemon, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, and very thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp zatar, divided
- 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 ½ lbs
- ¾ cup greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp harissa paste (or more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
- Warm pita bread for serving.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, fennel, onion, lemon, garlic, 2 Tbsp oil, and 1 Tbsp zatar. Toss until vegetables are well coated with oil and Zatar, then spread them out evenly on a sheet pan.
3. Toss the chicken in a bowl with the remaining 1 Tbsp oil and 2 tsp zatar until well coated. Nestle the chicken in among the vegetables on the sheet pan. Place pan in oven and roast until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 35-40 minutes. I recommend a quick check about halfway through - if veggies look like they are browning to fast on the bottom at this point, you can give them a quick stir before replacing pan in oven.
4. Once you’ve taken the chicken and vegetables out of the oven, stir together the yogurt, harissa, and lemon juice. Drizzle sauce over the warm vegetables and chicken, and sprinkle the parsley over everything. Serve directly off of the sheet pan with warm pita bread on the side.