it's a ME problem, not a sheet pan problem
Home Movies Tuesday!
This week’s installment of Home Movies Tuesday is brought to you by a question from Chef’s Kiss, a bi-weekly advice column for all of your burning questions. To get the full Chef’s Kiss experience, you must be a paying subscriber, which you can become here:
Q: Can a sheet pan dinner be amazing? I’m so bored and also have an infant.
A: I hear you. I really, really hear you. First, congratulations on the baby. Second, yes it can be! Maybe your boredom is mine as well— the idea that you could throw a bunch of things onto a sheet pan and everything cooks evenly at the same time (while browning and not steaming), and somehow everything is supposed to be as fulfilling as it is effortless?
I hate to say it, but it sort of feels like treating your oven as a microwave, and it’s also why I have an emotional block regarding instant pots– The cooking happens without you, and I want to be involved in the cooking because I want to be involved with everything (truly hate being left out, but also, see: obsession with control, etc.). Cook with ease and convenience? No thanks!
But this….this particular sheet pan preparation feels different. Normally, with a sheet pan anything, the juices and sticky bits left behind from the [INSERT ROASTED THING HERE] are left behind to be washed away in your kitchen sink. Not here, because I think juices and sticky bits deserve better. Here, the juices and sticky bits are deglazed with vinegar, a little water, raw garlic and crushed olives and scraped up to make a gloriously tangy sauce, giving you all the benefits of a skillet chicken, but made on a sheet pan. It tastes complex, *sophisticated*, and like you for sure put so much more effort into it than you actually did, and we love that! The quickness and ease of sheet pan roasting combined with the flavorful sauciness of a skillet sear? Swipe right, subscribe, etc!
If you don’t like olives, I am shocked you’ve read this far. But truly, they are as important as the chicken here and make up the lion’s share of the actual sauce. THAT SAID! You could simply only use the herbs here (parsley, cilantro, a mix), or take a number of quick-cooking/already cooked vegetables and use them to make this sauce, too. Thinly sliced fennel, boiled and crushed potatoes, capers, fresh cherry tomatoes all come to mind.
As for the chicken you’re using— I like to use a whole bird cut up into ten pieces (two legs, two thighs, two wings, two breasts cut in half) because I think that everyone should get the piece of chicken they want (I enjoy a wing and a thigh, thanks). But if you’re wanting to just do thighs and legs, or perhaps breasts only, you should!
SHEET PAN CHICKEN WITH CRUSHED OLIVES
3 ½–4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (one whole chicken cut up into ten pieces, or just use all thighs, legs, breasts, etc)
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons white distilled or 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 ½ cups green Castelvetrano olives, pitted and crushed
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 ½ cups parsley and or cilantro, tender leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper all over. With the chicken skin-side up, drizzle with half the olive oil and place in oven.
2. Roast the chicken, without flipping, until cooked through and deeply browned all over, 25 to 30 minutes. This time will vary depending on if you’re using smaller thighs, larger breasts, etc— but the point here is to get your chicken as brown as possible since that’s where most of your flavor will come from (it’s harder to dry out when you roast it hot and fast like that, so don’t worry too much).
3. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, olives, garlic, the rest of the olive oil, and 2-3 tablespoons water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
4. Once the chicken is delightfully browned and perfectly roasted, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using tongs or a fish spatula (I like this one), transfer chicken to a large serving platter, leaving behind any of the juices and bits stuck to the pan.
5. Make sure the baking sheet is on a sturdy surface (the stovetop, a counter), then pour the olive mixture onto the sheet. Using a fish spatula or wooden spoon, gently scrape up all the bits the chicken left behind, letting the olive mixture mingle with the rendered fat and get increasingly saucy. Pour olive mixture over the chicken, scatter with herbs, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and serve.