I love smoked paprika. I rotate between a couple of perfumes, my day-to-day is 5th Avenue by Elizabeth Arden, but if it was socially acceptable I would roll in smoked paprika straight from the shower in the morning, basting myself with it's sultry sexy smoky perfumey loveliness. It would turn my skin a shade of orange not even witnessed on TOWIE* but it would be worth it.
I can't do that, obviously, my husband would probably have me sectioned. So I get my smoked paprika fix by cooking with it a lot instead. This gorgeous traybake is a fine example of smoked paprika used judiciously to acheive heavenliness.
Smokey Chicken, Root Veg and Wheat traybake - for four. Play with quantities for more/less. You know the drill.
As much chicken on the bone - thigh, leg, drumstick - as you care to eat
Likewise as much root veg as you care to eat - I like sweet potato and butternut squash, you can add white potatoes if you wish
a fennel bulb
2 red peppers
A handful of dried bulghar wheat per person
1/2-1 teaspoon of clear honey per piece of chicken (drumsticks will need 1/2, bigger bits 1)
dried chilli flakes
dried mixed herbs
1 veg Oxo cube
Put your bulghar wheat, 1 tsp dried mixed herbs, a pinch of dried chilli
and the Oxo cube into a bowl, cover with twice the volume of boiling
water, stir and put aside to soak it's way to edibility.
Peel, deseed and otherwise make your root veg and fennel bakeworthy. Chop into chunks, toss in oil and about 1tsp of smoked paprika and spread onto baking trays. Pop into an oven heated to 200/180 fan and bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, deseed your peppers and chop into large pieces, setting aside.
Mix 2 tbsp olive oil with 1tsp smoked paprika, a pinch of chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp of dried mixed herbs, and stir. Brush over the chicken to coat.
When your root veg have had their 15 minutes, add the pepper and chicken to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Take the chicken out, drizzle with the honey and return to the oven, cooking for another 5-10 until the chicken is cooked through and the veg is cooked through and starting to blacken and caramelise at the edges. Stir the vegetables into the soaked bulghar wheat, adding a little more smoked paprika if you think there's not quite enough involved already. Serve with the honeysweetandsmokeysavourycrispyskinned chicken. Heaven.
Too much veg? Reserve some and whizz with hot vegetable stock for soup. Tomorrow's lunch. Serve leftover wheat/veg mix cold with salad dressing. Veggie? Ditch the chicken (duh!) and cook the veg and wheat, tossing in cubed halloumi cheese just before you serve.
This would make fantastic crowd-food - up the quantities and serve a heaped bowl of the wheat mix alongside a tray of chicken hissing hot from the oven. Offer up plenty of napkins and get stuck in.
* Jimmy Carr - "I like to shorten The Only Way Is Essex... by turning it off halfway through"