Melissa Clark

Podcast Pick: Weeknight Kitchen

 
 

I cook, but I don’t consider myself a Cook. I need practical, simple, with-ingredients-I-understand recipes, and that’s what I expect from Melissa Clark’s new podcast. Here’s why I think Box Lunch Lifers may want to check it out:

  • For most of us, new recipes don’t get made unless they’re totally practical. In this episode, MC didn’t once mention an ingredient that I didn’t recognize, know where to buy, or that I’d use only once then throw most of it in the trash someday.

  • Podcasts mean learning without more screen time. You can listen while doing something in the actual world, like playing with your dog or walking to…anywhere.

  • This show’s short. You could just about fit it into a lunch break. Better yet, spend 15 minutes making a grocery list and deciding when you’ll cook. Like Chris Guillebeau says, “Inspiration is good, but inspiration with action is so much better.”

MC calls her Episode 1 recipe “the crispy-lover’s version of a one pot meal.” I LOVE CRISPY. I’m definitely making it, and hope you’ll let me know if it ends up in your lunch box sometime soon.


HARISSA CHICKEN WITH LEEKS, POTATOES AND YOGURT
by Melissa Clark

Serves 3
Time = 1 hour + 30 minutes marinating total

One of my all-time favorites, this sheet-pan supper has it all—spicy harissa-laced roasted chicken; sweet, browned leeks; crunchy potatoes; plus a cool garnish of salted yogurt and plenty of fresh bright herbs. It’s a little lighter than your average roasted chicken and potatoes dinner, and a lot more profoundly flavored.

The key here (and with all sheet-pan suppers) is to make sure the ingredients can all cook together on the same pan. This means cutting sturdy, denser things into smaller chunks that will cook at the same rate (chicken, potatoes), and adding the more delicate ingredients (here, the leeks) toward the end so they don’t burn. Another important note: don’t overpopulate the pan. You need to leave space between things so ingredients can brown and crisp rather than steam. If you want to double the recipe to feed six, you can, as long as you spread everything out in two pans rather than crowding them in one.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks

  • 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 × 1/2-inch chunks

  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons harissa

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced into half-moons

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk (if using Greek, thin it down with a little milk to make it drizzle-able)

  • 1 small garlic clove

  • 1 cup mixed soft fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, mint, and/or cilantro leaves

  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed

Directions

1. Combine the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season them with 2 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the harissa, cumin, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pour this mixture over the chicken and potatoes, and toss to combine. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the leeks, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Heat the oven to 425°F.

4. Arrange the chicken and potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes. Then toss the potatoes lightly, and scatter the leeks over the baking sheet. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 20 to 25 minutes longer.

5. While the chicken cooks, place the yogurt in a small bowl. Grate the garlic clove over the yogurt, and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

6. Spoon the yogurt over the chicken and vegetables in the baking sheet (or you can transfer everything to a platter if you want to be fancy about it). Scatter the herbs over the yogurt, drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice over the top, and serve.