This dish embodies everything we believe a Hero Dinner should be. Of course, it meets the first, absolute criteria: It is a complete, well-balanced meal made in just one pan. This sheet pan dinner is also a crowd-pleaser: the combination of sweet and salty practically guarantees that. In fact, this dish covers all the flavor bases — it has sour and bitter notes, too — in just the right balance to appeal to everyone from kids to super tasters.
Forgive me if it sounds like I am overselling this dish, but I can’t help myself — and I have history on my side. For nearly 20 years, I’ve been making a version of this for my family and friends, and I have never met a chicken-eater who didn’t love it. So when my husband and fellow chef, David Bonom, and I set out to create our cookbook of Hero Dinners, I couldn’t leave it behind.
Our book came about because David and I cook all day for work — but at 6 p.m. there was often nothing to eat for dinner. The 12 burgers we made had been sitting under photo lights all day; or, while the five cakes might still be in fine shape, even I have to admit they aren’t the best choice (nutritionally speaking; in all other ways, I think cake makes for a fine meal) for dinner. As much as we love cooking, after doing it all day, we don’t want to figure out side dishes and timing — or make another mess. We want to sit down to a meal that is truly a lovely end to the day — and not a precursor to doing a whole lot of cleanup.
That is just what a hero dinner does — it swoops in and ends our day on a relaxing, delicious note. In order to earn its moniker, a hero dinner not only cooks in just one sheet pan or skillet, but it also always includes protein, vegetable, and/or starch; can’t require obscure ingredients, but definitely may include some interesting ones; and is made from wholesome foods. Of course, a hero dinner is a satisfying meal we want to eat over and over again.
Hoisin marmalade chicken is a true hero dinner. We’ve always loved it served over rice, so we developed a way to cook the rice right in the sheet pan. Carrots contribute another sweet element to the meal, and roasted crisp-tender baby bok choy adds a crunchy counterpoint — and the browned edges of the leaves (our favorite part!) throw in a little smoky-char flavor.
Hoisin Marmalade Chicken with Carrots, Baby Bok Choy and Rice
scallions, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 tablespoon
grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon
lower-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons
toasted sesame oil
(4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 cup
long-grain white rice
- 3/4 teaspoon
carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon
plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
baby bok choy, trimmed at the stem end and halved lengthwise
- 1/3 cup
- 1/4 cup
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Combine the scallions, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl; add the chicken and toss thoroughly.Let it stand at room temperature while you prepare the rice.
Spread the rice on the sheet pan. Combine 2 1/4 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pour it over the rice. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the carrots, 2 teaspoons of the canola oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl.
After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, give it a stir and smooth it into an even layer. Top it with the carrots and the chicken and roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the bok choy to the now-empty large bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Combine the hoisin sauce and the marmalade in a small bowl.
After it has roasted for 20 minutes, brush the chicken with half the hoisin mixture. Place the bok choy halves, cut side down, on the pan and roast for 10 minutes. Brush the chicken with the remaining hoisin mixture and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the largest piece of the breast registers 160°F, 10 to 12 minutes more.
Reprinted with permission from Hero Dinners: Complete One-Pan Meals That Save the Day by Marge Perry and David Bonom, copyright (c) 2019, William Morrow Cookbooks.
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Hero Dinners: Complete One-Pan Meals That Save the Day by Marge Perry and David Bonom
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