Well… with just a little bit of advance effort and planning on behalf of the chicken.
Still, yes, you can have this dinner; Nigella’s Chicken, Roasted Asparagus, and Roasted Baby Potatoes, all from one oven, and all cooked at the same time in a touch under 60 minutes. And really, even the effort with the chicken isn’t all that much – a good whack! with a cleaver or spatchcocking with your poultry shears, then stuff it into a zipper bad with some goodies and off to the fridge for a couple of hours. Let me explain…
•1 Chicken, halved, spatchcocked, or pieces
•3 sprigs fresh rosemary
•1 red onion, quartered
•1/2 cup olive oil
Best! Roasted Asparagus:
•1 lb asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
•Sea salt and black pepper
•Aleppo pepper (optional)
Roasted Baby Potatoes:
•1-1/2 lb baby potatoes, halved
•2 tbsp olive oil
First, let’s deal with the chicken. The simple secret to Nigella’s chicken is the marinade, which gives you a tender, juicy, very flavorful chicken that always turns out well, even if you get carried away on the grill, or forget it in the oven for a bit longer than you planned. It’s all good, and it’s all simple – but you need to plan on at least four hours to marinate.
Simply stuff your halved bird (or pieces) in a large zipper bag with the quartered onion (don’t worry about pealing it if you’re pressed for time), slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over all (then chuck the leftover lemon in the bag as well), tuck the rosemary in, sprinkle well with the sea salt, then drizzle with the olive oil. Close the bag, squeeze everything around a bit to get the oil, lemon juice, and salt everywhere, then stash in the fridge for at least four hours.
Now we’re ready for dinner.
Allow the chicken to come to room temperature and heat your oven to 425º.
Line three roasting pans with foil.
Turn the contents of the chicken bag into one pan, tucking the rosemary and lemon husks in place here and there and sprinkling with a bit of black pepper. Bake for 45 minutes.
Toss the potatoes in the olive oil, salt, and pepper, then arrange in a baking pan and add to the oven 15 minutes after you started the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once, until the potatoes are browned and crisped a bit.
Cut a bit off the bottom of the asparagus and peel, if desired, and arrange in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper (I added a bit of sliced lemon, too) and set aside.
Once the chicken is ready – will you just look at that lovely bird – pull it out of the oven, cover lightly with foil, and allow to rest on top of the stove while you finish the asparagus.
Pop the asparagus pan into the oven (next to the potatoes, if they aren’t done to your liking yet) and roast for about ten minutes, until the asparagus is tender, and the tops deepest green.
I cut our chicken into quarters, but you are welcome to get fussier if you like. Simple, tasty, and no real need for any extra butter or sauces or seasonings – and all in just about an hour*.
*Except for the spatchcocking and marinading bit.