Any dinner that presents itself as a whole meal on a tray baked in the oven is the most relaxed kind of fare for both the cook and the recipients. This dish is the sort of thing my brother and I grew up eating on school nights, cobbled together by my creative mother.
A tray of chicken packed tight with vegetables or fruit, then strewn with herbs and spices followed by a good glug of olive oil, is a dinner achievable by anybody, so effortless that it almost feels illusory when it appears on the table.
This particular tray dinner mixes sweet paprika (from Hungary), tart sumac (from Turkey) and fragrant marjoram, the most popular of all the soft herbs in Germany. Every flavour here speaks to me of Germany, despite, of course, some of the ingredients coming from further afield – these are the adopted flavours that have become our own. Serves 4 – 6 people.
– 6 chicken drumsticks
– 6 chicken thighs
– 9 plums, stones removed and quartered 12 shallots, quartered
– 2 tbsp dried marjoram 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
– 2 tbsp sumac
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed 4 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
– 2 tbsp runny honey
– flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. This method really is very simple. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands until everything seems evenly coated. It may seem quite dry at this point but don’t worry about this as during the fruit releases its juices to create a rich sauce.
2. Dollop the contents of the bowl into a high
sided roasting tin. Roast in the oven for around 45-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and golden, spooning the juices over once during the cooking time to keep it moist.
3. Scatter over the fresh marjoram and place the roasting tray in the centre of the table so everyone can help themselves.
Serve with crusty white bread to soak up the juices.
Chicken with Grapes and Cumin
Switch the plums for a bunch of seedless red grapes (taken off their stems) and the paprika for ground cumin and follow the same method as above. Scatter over some roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to serve.
Strudel, Noodles and Dumplings is a cook book about Germany’s varied culinary heritage
seen through the eyes of Anja Dunk’s family recipes, most of which have been given a new life in her young family kitchen.
Anja was born in Wales to a German mother and a Welsh father. Her childhood was spent predominantly in Wales but also in Germany and South East Asia, where she moved to and from over the early years of her life.
Credit to 4th Estate publishers.