Yee-haw! Cowboy beans with roast chicken

Lilly Higgins: When her son discovered cowboy films, this tray bake proved a winner

Only four ingredients – cowboy beans with roast chicken

Only four ingredients – cowboy beans with roast chicken

 

My eldest is discovering all of the wild west films and loves them. John Wayne has replaced Harry Kane in his list of heroes. He has been interested in the “olden days” since he was very little and now that he has reached the grand old age of seven, he can read up on everything himself and tells me amazing facts about the customs and traditions of life in the wild wild west.

Six months ago he needed a new soccer kit, but now he’s asking for long johns and a neck scarf. One of his recent requests for dinner was a pot of beans. Not the usual baked beans, but a wilder version, not as perfect as the tin of shiny beans glazed in a sweetened light tomato sauce, but rather a more rustic, smokey campfire pot of beans. Real beans.

I rustled this tray bake up for him with some roast chicken thighs and he loved them. The chorizo brings that sweet smokiness and gives it that cowboy edge. It has been a big hit in our family now for a few months. I like to serve this with some crusty toasted sourdough and a green salad. Broccoli or green beans are ideal too.

It reheats well and the bean mix can be frozen. The beans are amazing over a baked potato for an even more substantial meal, topped with some grated cheese. I’ve used cooked tinned beans here for convenience but of course you can cook them from dried.

Practically speaking there are basically only four ingredients. The parsley is optional, but it brings a nice freshness and lightness to what can be a rich dish. You don’t even need to season with salt or pepper as the chorizo is packed full of flavour. No need for oil either as the chicken fat provides amazing taste and bathes the tomatoes in its golden richness.

The secret ingredient in all of this is the fat, from the chicken and from the chorizo. Admittedly this isn’t the way to cook seven days a week but it’s fine once a week. When relying on fats like this, ensure you get good quality chorizo and organic or free range chicken for maximum impact and taste.

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The beauty of the one-tray supper is, of course, that there is very little clean up afterwards but there is also a hidden, often overlooked benefit to this bung-it-all-together method. That is that all of the flavours get to mingle and mix. Almost like a slow-cooked stew or casserole, all of the ingredients work together creating a delicious, harmonious one-tray wonder. Perfect for busy, sunny days when you’d rather be outside then stuck in the kitchen.

COWBOY BEANS WITH ROAST CHICKEN

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken legs or thighs, skin on
6 tomatoes
200g chorizo, roughly chopped
1 tin of cooked cannellini or butter beans
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

1. Preheat an  oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2. Place the chicken thighs on a tray, skin side up. Roast for 15 minutes until the skin is golden. Turn the chicken over.

3. Quarter the tomatoes and add to the tray along with the roughly chopped chorizo. Roast for a further 10 minutes until the chorizo is golden and the tomatoes have broken down.

4. Add the drained cannellini beans and gently mix everything together. Return the tray to the oven for five minutes to heat the beans. Check that the chicken is cooked.

5. Divide the beans between four bowls and top with a piece of chicken and a scattering of flat leaf parsley. Serve right away with crusty bread and a side salad.

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