October turned out to be a very busy moth. It meant a lot of planning ahead to be able to a) use all my CSA produce, and b) put dinner on the table without loosing my mind. While the leaves were turning colors and we started to feel some chill in the air, I started craving roasted squash and more hearty foods. My absolute favorite feeling about the changing season!
To make this weeknight dinner easy, I cook the rice one or two nights ahead, I cut all the vegetables the night before, keep it all in an air tight container in the fridge. Then I come home from work, crank my oven to 400F, and have dinner ready in about 45 minutes. That may seem like a long time but it isn’t when you are also helping your 10-year-old with homework, believe me, it takes him longer than that to get done. He enjoys sitting in the kitchen testing my math and spelling knowledge while I finish dinner.
Feel free to swap vegetables or grain in this recipe, I used what I had from my CSA box, but by all means make it your own. Whatever you do, prepping and planning ahead is the only secret to keep sanity and find some balance between busy work and family time. Give it a try and enjoy!
For the Roasted Vegetables Black Rice
1 cups black rice
1 delicata squash
1 red bell pepper
1 bulb fennel
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the dressing
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
For the Chicken Thighs:
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on –> (up to you, but I highly recommend it for flavor)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper
The night before:
Cut the delicata squash length wise, remove the seeds with a spoon and slice 1/4 inch thick. Cut the pepper in half, clean the seeds and cut in quarters. Peel the onion, cut in quarters, clean the fennel, cut in quarters. Place all the prepared vegetables in an air tight container and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Cook the black rice following the package instructions. Spread on a sheet pan to cool quickly. When cooled, place the rice in an air tight container and keep in the refrigerator.
To make dinner:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the delicata squash in a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place the rest of the vegetables in one single layer in a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with remainder olive oil. Bake all the vegetables, turning them once, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through and they have a golden char. Let them cool. While the vegetables are roasting, start cooking the chicken.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron or frying pan over high medium heat. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add them in one single layer to the hot pan, skin side down. Place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on top and weigh it down with another heavy pan (you could skip this step if you want, I use this method to get equal cooking on all parts of the chicken). Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook another 5 minutes. Discard the foil or parchment paper. Add chicken broth and move the pan into the 400F degree oven. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the inside temperature reads 165F and the juices run clear when pinch with a fork.
Warm up the rice in the microwave. Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. When the vegetables are cooled enough to handle, cut them in 1 inch pieces, add to the rice, add the dressing, and toss gently.
Serve the braised chicken thighs with roasted vegetables black rice salad, brush the braising liquid on top. Enjoy!