Curried Chicken and Cauliflower

It's been a little while since I shared a recipe or my ramblings.  To get you caught up: the school year is off to a good start, MUCH better than last year.  The Mister's work has been very busy.  My new(ish) job continues to be wonderful and wonderfully family friendly. With school and other activities starting back up, I buckled down and got back to true meal planning.  Aiding me in this endeavor is our new meat CSA with North Mountain Pastures.  

What is a meat CSA you ask?  Have you heard of the produce CSA, where you receive either a monthly or weekly box of fresh produce?  Well, this is the meat version of it.  We tried vegan and vegetarian, and honestly, we're really good at it for breakfast and lunch.  Dinners are another story.  However, in an effort to be (in no particular order): healthy, environmentally friendly, kinder to animals, did I mention healthy?, we looked for a local alternative to purchasing industrially farmed meat protein at the local grocery stores.  Here in Central PA there are a lot of great options!  Thanks to the wonders of Facebook and my equally wonderful friends, many ideas, tips and tricks were sent our way.  The most often mentioned and mentioned favorably was North Mountain Pastures.  

We signed up the next day.  However, we signed up after the August delivery, but they very kindly cobbled together a "share" for us.  It wasn't exactly the usual they said, but I was happy with what we got!  It included: all natural hot dogs, bacon, linconshire sausages, pork shanks, pork chops, two whole chickens (more on them in a second), ground beef, and a beef soup bone.  Considering we're doing our best to make meat more of the side in many dishes, this was a perfect share!  We also love doing roast chicken on Sunday, having a big Sunday dinner, then using leftovers for other meals and lunches while making stock and then soup from the bones.  I made a list of what we received, took a look at the September calendar, and started making my meal plans and shopping lists.  As I type this, we are three days away from receiving our next share, and all that is left is the beef soup bone.  I figured I'll wait to use that until the weather is really cold and make something warm and comforting!

Back to today's recipe.  We had two whole chickens, as mentioned above.  One, we roasted as we normally do, then used the leftovers to make chicken noodle soup.  Let me tell you, homemade soup made from homemade stock that is thickened with the gravy from the roast chicken meal...oh my goodness.  To top it off, it was all gluten free.  The second chicken was used for this recipe, a recipe given to me by my friend Angela.  Because of this recipe she should really be listed as my super bestest friend in the whole wide world and oh my goodness, what other recipes do you have my dear friend Angela?!  But, for this post, we'll just go with "Angela."  She sent it to me via FB private messenger, I copied and pasted to print, and we made it tonight.  

Let me back up though.  As I mentioned, we had a WHOLE chicken left.  Not pieces.  This original recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Therefore, I found myself googling "how to cut up a whole chicken."  I found this fabulous video from the New York Times.  Not only do you get the chicken pieces, you also get the backbone for stock!  Bonus!  I cannot show you pictures of the process because my lovely husband had the job of cutting it up while I read bedtime stories.  

Here are the wonderful things about this recipe:
  1. Aside from cutting up the chicken, the prep work is minimal.
  2. The ingredients are not difficult to find or get.
  3. I believe it is what they call Paleo for those of you watching that. 
  4. It cooks on ONE SHEET PAN!  Put some aluminum foil or parchment paper down...easy cleaning!
  5. It is DELICIOUS!!!

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

This is my plate.  I got a thigh and a wing.  I would have been happy with just the cauliflower mix though!

Curried Chicken and Cauliflower with Apricots and Olives

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or, whole chicken pieces, bone in, skin on - or,  
    whatever. Do chicken pieces of some sort)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Kosher salt
1 large head cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 5 mins and drained.
1 cup pitted green olives, halved or quartered if large
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 large lemon, cut into wedges

In bowl/container with lid, combine chicken with 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar,  2 tsp. of the curry powder, 1/2 tsp. of the paprika, cinnamon, and cayennne, and 3/4 tsp. salt, tossing to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450.  Line a large rimmed sheet pan with parchment.  On the pan, combine the cauliflower with remaining oil, curry powder, paprika, and 3/4 tsp. salt, tossing to coat.  Add the apricots and olives and spread in a single layer. 

Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, fold back into original shape, and place them on top of the cauliflower, spaced evenly apart.  Roast, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cauliflower browns and the chicken cooks through, about 35 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pan and toss the cauliflower mixture with the pan drippings. Serve the chicken and cauliflower mixture sprinkled with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges on the side. (I COMPLETELY FORGOT to put the cilantro and lemon wedges at the table...we didn't miss them one bit, but I'll bet it would have added a nice touch!)



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