But you know I won’t leave you hanging. This dish features yet another ingredient that is not at all native to this Malaysia-land. And that ingredient is garlic! No, I kid I kid. I’m sure you know I meant the lemon. No no… I am just joking. I really mean the butternut squash. Tee hee!
Not sure why I’m being coy all of a sudden. Anyhoo, butternut squash is one of the newer ingredients that I’ve gotten to try. It’s only recently that I see it in supermarkets alongside zucchini and stuff like that. When I first bought it, I simply cut it into chunks and roasted it with a good sprinkling of paprika, salt & pepper. It was GOOD!
So I thought it would be really really nice when roasted alongside some white sweet potatoes and a half chicken I have sitting around in my freezer. It was truly a beautiful experience. Thank you Nigella for the inspiration. Before I go further though, I need to add a disclaimer. This is my first experience baking chicken with lemon wedges as opposed to merely using the juice. The bitterness from the lemon pith was really pronounces. So unless you like bitterness from the lemon that way, I’d suggest just using very thin slices of lemon, the juice alone or totally leaving it out and serve the cooked dish with lemon wedges for everyone to flavour their own portions. We were okay with the bitterness, though, I’d be more careful next time when using lemon wedges in baking with chicken. I think thin lemon slices would suit out tastes better.
So to prepare the dish, hack the squash and sweet potato up. Place it in and around the chicken half. I don’t bother with peeling the squash asnthe skin is so thin that when it cooks up, you barely notice it. If using lemon wedges, scatter it around together with garlic cloves. When garlic gets roasted in it’s skin, it becomes mellow and so so sweet. We love them.
Plenty of salt and pepper. I heard a cook once said that when you think you’ve put in enough salt, put in a little more because the salt will run out of the baked chicken. Strip those thyme leaves all over.
Isn’t this a dish filled with happiness and sunshine? Those little seeds over the top are actually butternut squash seeds that I toasted in a pan while the chicken baked. It gave an extra crunch to the dish. You know, to avoid wasting too.
This went really well with quinoa.
No, you didn’t see wrongly. I did post the same above picture in the quinoa recipe as well. That probably tells you how long ago I made this. Aren’t you glad you’ve finally seen this? Heh… I have a massive recipe backlog to bring up here. Wait for me!
PS: I think I use thyme waaayyy too often. Time to start mixing things up with rosemary, sage, oregano and other stuff. Recipe featuring dill coming up in 2 days!
PPS: It’s me Pop’s birthday today! Ah, but we were ahead of schedule and celebrated a week ago.That dinner was fabulous but I’ve got a sneaky feeling that he would love this roast chicken dish too. Probably time to get me another butternut squash and test it on the rest of my family. 😀
“O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.” (John 17:25)
Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash & Lemon
inspired by Nigella: Forever Summer
1/2 Chicken (appx 2 lbs or almost 1 kg), left whole with skin on
1/2 Butternut Squash, deseeded & cut into large chunks
1 white Sweet Potato, peeled & cut into large chunks
1 Lemon, cut into 8 wedges (or sliced thinly if preferred)
6-7 sprigs Thyme
1 bulb Garlic, separated into cloves unskinned
1 1/2 tbsp Salt (to taste)
2 tbsp Mirin
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 180 C or 375 C.
- In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place cut pieces of butternut squash, white sweet potato, garlic cloves & lemon wedges. Arrange chicken at the centre of the dish.
- Pour over olive oil & mirin. Sprinkle salt & pepper. With clean hands, rub everything until evenly coated with oil and seasonings.
- Strip leaves from sprigs of thyme and scatter over everything.
- Roast for about 1 hour or until squash and sweet potato pieces are tender.
- Serve as is in the baking dish with some salad on the side.
*Note: The original Nigella recipe called for low and slow roasting. Because of that, the bitterness of the lemon is not as pronounced with the juices all caramelized. Since my recipe is a quicker one, I would recommend thinly sliced lemons if you are less inclined towards the flavour of bitter lemon pith.