I love one-pan dinners; they are quick, effortless and healthy and believe it or not, as much as I love cooking, there are times when I just don’t want to step into my kitchen and for days such as those, I look towards recipes that are less time consuming, requires no demand for attention and yet are uber yum. The greatest thing about one-pan dinners is that not only does the oven do all the cooking for you, but also, the meals are extremely light yet extremely hearty and fulfilling. That’s my kind of dinner, where flavours are bursting through without the dish being too heavy.
The mexican food cultural history is said to be dated back in history to the Mayan Indians 2000 years ago and it is also known that not much has changed in the food culture since then. The Mayans lived off the produce of the land to sustain for themselves including, corn, beans, rice, fruits, peppers, even chocolate etc. and their flavours have always been rich and colourful along with righteous kicks of spices. I love the flavours of Mexico. I think the flavours in their food culture are diversely vibrant. Their flavours just goes to show how passionately they embrace their basket of wide ranged ingredients and earthy, rich and humble spices and showcase them in their dishes with gusto. Enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, Mexican rice, tacos, quesadillas and you name it, every single dish that came out from Mexico is bursting with colourful flavours and is a medley of fresh and powerful spices. Mexicans are just not afraid to use heat and smokyness in their flavours and it is always perfectly balanced, playing music to your palate. If you look at their staple food tortilla and their infamous sauces known around the world, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, black beans, coriander, bell peppers, jalapenos and so many more, it makes the cuisine exotic. In all honesty, they know what they are talking about when it comes to smoke and heat in flavours.
I have never been to Mexico but I have a friend who grew up there and she was the one who introduced me to quesadillas. She would take tortilla wraps and add Tabasco sauce and fresh Mozerella balls and toast it on the pan. It was hot and cheesy and it was extremely scrumptious even with that punching heat of Tabasco. For me, I believe Mexican and Indian Cuisine are brother and sister, because they hold in common the love of earthy and heat flavours in their food. I mean if there is not heat in Indian food, it’s not Indian food and so for Mexican food, it’s not Mexican without it’s exotic and smoky flavour.
The traditional way of making fajitas is pan frying meat and vegetables with Fajita seasoning and serving it in tortilla wraps with salsa fixings and guacamole and sour cream etc. I made the traditional Chicken Fajita last month, but I felt a little adventurous today and I deconstructed the recipe adding vegetables to it and baking it in the oven in the meats own juices. These were baked on a bed of peas, potatoes,olives, on-the-vine tomatoes and red onion, garnished with coriander leaves and served with corn on cob and tortillas on the side. I drooled just as it came out of the oven, the aroma was so appetising. My 8 year old couldn’t stop raving about how much he’s enjoying his dinner; every time he Ummmd, I felt accomplished because let’s face it, the biggest critics of our food are kids and the younger they are the more critical they are; “fussy eater” a term we mum’s use often for it and It’s only when they eat it without us telling them to finish their food, is no less than a stroke of genius; success, Yay! Mind you, jolt down the recipe of any such genius immediately for future dinner times.This is definitely on my dinner menu from today.
A few simple things, you don’t have to use the tomatoes if you don’t want to. I used them because I didn’t serve salsa with it, either way, it’s delish. The meat I used was skinless but chicken with skin will also work great. The first time I baked this, I used skin on drumsticks. For the vegetables, variation to individual preference is ofcourse an option but I highly recommend olives, peas and potatoes in the dish. So, that’s about it. If you are feeling a bit lazy, this dish is your best friend with effortless cooking and barely any cleaning up after.
My Kids call this “Rainbow of a dish”. How stupendous are these colours.
Cooking time – 60 minutes approx.
1. Chicken Drumsticks (Skinless) 1kg
2. Oil — 4 tbsp
3. Lemon — 1 tsp
4. BBQ Sauce — 2 tsp
5. Ketchup — 1/4 cup
Fajita Spice Mix~
1. Garlic Powder — 1 tsp
2. Onion Powder — 2 tsp
3. Oregano — 1 tsp
4. Cayenne Pepper — 1 tsp
5. Ground Cumin — 1 tsp
6. Ground coriander — 1 tsp
7. Ground Cloves — ½ tsp
8. Chilli Powder — ½ tsp
9. Salt — 1 tsp
10. Smoked Paprika — 2 tsp
11. Brown sugar — 2 tsp
1. Mixed Vine Cherry Tomatoes 12-16
2. Olives — 8-10
3. Potatoes — 4
4. Peas — 1 cup
5. Red onion — 2
6. Fresh Coriander — To garnish
1. Prepare the Chicken ~
a. In a bowl, mix together the Fajita Spice Mix.
b. Wash and pat dry the chicken drumstick and make cuts on them.
c. Marinate the chicken with the spice mix, oil, Keychup, BBQ sauce and lemon juice.
d. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Bake the Chicken~
a. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
b. Dice the potatoes into thick slices without peeling them.
c. Dice the onion into quarters
d. In a baking tray, add the layer of diced potatoes at the bottom and pour peas on top.
e. Place the marinated chicken on top of the potato and peas bed.
f. Add the red onions, olives and cherry tomatoes on top and pour all the left over marinade over it.
g. Sprinkle coriander on top.
h. Cover the tray with foil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is done.
i. In the last 10 minutes of bake, take the foil off the baking tray and open bake the chicken to give it a roasted flavour.
j. Server with Dinner rolls, corn on the cob or tortillas.
~ Happy Foodieating ~