The smell of this chicken cooking is divine — like Thanksgiving in a pan. The sweetness of the apples and onions, plus the pungency of the garlic had me near-drooling just 10 minutes after I put it in the oven.
The last time I roasted butternut squash I’d cut it into chunks, and they took a lot longer to cook than I expected. This time I think I over-corrected. Not only did I slice the butternut squash into 1/4-inch slices, I also roasted the whole dish at a lower heat (400° F instead of 450°) for a longer time (1 hour and change instead of 40 minutes or so). The result was the best-tasting mush ever. You could have made a squash & apple puree with just a soft smooshing of the veggies with the back of a fork. I know my aunt had this same problem when she made my roasted chicken on veggies. The texture didn’t really bother me, but it’s obviously not “right” and I wouldn’t serve it to company this way.
Here’s what I did: In a 12×18 roasting pan, I layered 3 Granny Smith apples (each one cut into 12 slices), a butternut squash (1/4-inch slices), an onion (cut into 8 wedges), and a large handful of peeled garlic. Drizzled with a little olive oil, toss to coat. Then I rinsed and dried a chicken that had been cut up into 8 pieces, and placed those pieces on top of the veggie/apple mixture. I dusted the chicken with some cinnamon, and baked at 400° F for an hour or so.
I think there are a couple of ways to fix the mushiness:
- Set up a single pan the same way, but use skinless, boneless chicken breasts instead.
- Use a whole chicken on a raised rack in the same roasting pan, with the veggies underneath. (I’m thinking if the chicken is not touching the vegetables, they will be less soggy — even if the chicken drips on them.)
- Just roast the chicken and veggies in separate pans, at the same time.
I’m leaning towards the last option, since I know that keeps the vegetables firm and the only extra work is cleaning the additional pan. However, Merrie always uses chicken breasts, and has a lot of success that way, so maybe that’s the best next step.
Either way, I probably need to roast chicken in some form or fashion each week — G. eats it with gusto, and other than my chicken soup and yogurt I feel like it’s one of the only nutritionally-sound foods he really enjoys. A. would not touch any of it, and wound up eating grapes for dinner. He was very vocal about how “yucky” it all looked, so I told him he shouldn’t “yuck my yum.” That’s a phrase he told me his teachers use in school — he gave me an elaborate description of when the phrase is used, and I thought I was using it correctly, but he told me I got it all wrong. Oh well, that happens sometimes, even to mommies.