Here is another no fuss sheet pan supper, this time from the Epicurious website. The star of the show, bone in chicken thighs, are paired with a different cast of characters, red grapes, fennel and delicata squash.
Fall is prime season for grapes, the fruit that is harvested now has been hanging on the vine all summer. This translates into succulent fruit with high sugar content and complex flavors. Roasted grapes are delicious and I doubled the amount from the original recipe. Crunchy and a little bit sweet, fennel is in season now and through early spring. I love it’s licorice flavor raw in salads and roasting fennel caramelizes it and mellows out it’s sweetness. Delicata is the smallest of the winter squashes, usually weighing between 1/2 to 1 pound each. They are cylindrical in shape with yellow or cream colored skin with slight ribbing and dark green stripes. Unlike other winter squashes, the skin of the delicata is edible and has fewer seeds, making them easier to prepare.
The recipe starts with a flavorful rub that includes cumin, coriander, (my addition) brown sugar, salt, black and cayenne pepper. Half of the rub is tossed with the vegetables, the other half with the chicken thighs. You can do this step ahead earlier in the day and assemble the ingredients on the sheet pan before you are ready to roast. Space the components evenly on the baking sheet so all the ingredients get nice and brown. For even cooking, rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time. Be sure to use skin on bone in chicken thighs, even if you don’t eat the skin, it protects the meat while it is cooking. As I previously posted, an instant read thermometer will give you the best results.
Sheet Pan Chicken with Delicata Squash, Fennel and Grapes
- 1T brown sugar
- 1T ground cumin
- 1T ground coriander
- 1T kosher salt
- 1T freshly ground black pepper
- ¼t cayenne pepper
- 1 delicata squash, about 1½lbs, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into ¼” half moons
- 1 fennel bulb, about ½lb, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut into half moons
- 2c seedless red grapes
- 1T olive oil
- 2 lb. bone-in skin on chicken thighs (5-6 pieces)
- 1/4c torn fresh mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 425°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Mix the first six ingredients in a small bowl. Toss squash, fennel and grapes with oil and half of the spice mixture. Arrange in a single layer on a sheet pan.
- Rub chicken thighs evenly with the remaining spice mixture. You can prepare both components several hours in advance and store in the refrigerator. Bring the chicken out about 20 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
- Arrange the chicken thighs skin side up on top of fruit and vegetables. Roast until skin is browned and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F, about 25 minutes to one half hour.
- Divide chicken, fruit and vegetables between four plates and top with mint.