THE CANNY COOK: Tray-baked chicken, chorizo, white beans and spring greens

THE CANNY COOK: Tray-baked chicken, chorizo, white beans and spring greens

Many of us have made an effort to eat less meat over the past few years. The reasons are myriad but, for me, it has been a combination of financial, health and environmental factors. Sometimes, though, it’s simply because there are so many wonderful plant-based options available now.

When I buy meat and poultry, I try to choose higher-welfare options. This does add to the cost but I’ve found by consuming a little less I can balance things out. For instance, if I’m making burgers or meatballs I’ll often halve the quantity of minced meat and add an equal amount of cooked quinoa. Or to a ragù, I may add lentils. The result is a little lighter yet equally delicious.

If I’m serving chicken thighs I used to allow two per person. Now I serve one with white beans or wholegrains to bulk out the plate.

The same goes for steaks, I’ll choose one good-quality 250g steak to share between two people and make sure I serve plenty of roasted veg alongside. And with cured, strongly flavoured meats such as chorizo or pancetta I use just a little to season dishes. Many supermarkets sell smaller packs of finely diced chorizo, which I find handy to have in the fridge.


Tray-baked chicken, chorizo, white beans and spring greens

A simple all-in-one pan dinner with lots of goodness from cannellini and leafy greens.

4 free-range chicken thighs (skin-on, bone-in, about 580g) – £4.35

2 x 400g can cannellini beans – £1.30

60g diced chorizo – £1.38

250g spring greens – £0.85

Feeds 4. Total £7.88 (prices taken from Waitrose)


Preheat the oven to 200C/180fan/gas 6.

Cut 1 red onion into thin wedges and arrange in the base of a roasting tin with 60g diced chorizo. Add 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs to the pan and brush the skins with a little olive oil and season them. Roast for 25 minutes.

Drain the cans of cannellini beans and rinse. Remove the tray from the oven, add 150ml chicken stock and the beans. Roast for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, take 250g spring greens and shred the leaves, discarding any tough cores. Stir the leaves into the tray and roast for a final 10 minutes. Allow everything to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a lemon wedge and some aioli (or garlicky mayonnaise) on the side.