Heather Brown, of Dunedin, shows how to make mini
Heather Brown is a
fifth-generation New Zealander, born in Southland and raised
in Dunedin. She teaches food technology and hospitality at
Logan Park High School.
She developed this recipe because her senior pupils loved
their mothers' roasts but said they would not cook a roast
themselves because it was too expensive and took too long.
This recipe is a twist on the traditional roast with roast
vegetables, that can be cooked in an hour and will serve from
one to as many as you like.
The mini roasts can also be prepared ahead and frozen for a
few weeks, then thawed overnight in the fridge and cooked -
ideal if you are cooking for a lot of people at Christmas or
on other occasions.
Quick mini stuffed chicken
Heather's mini chicken roasts. Photos by Linda Robertson.
2-4 chicken thighs, boneless
1-2 slices toast bread, wholegrain
¼ apple, skin on,
1 Tbsp onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp olive
oil or melted butter
¼ tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh thyme
salt and freshly
ground pepper to taste
Hot or cold roasted vegetable
½ cup pumpkin, deseeded, peeled and cubed
½ parsnip, peeled
1-2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 medium potato, peeled and
½ cup kumara, peeled and cubed
½ onion, peeled and cut into
garlic cloves (optional)
1 Tbsp olive or other oil
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp honey
½-1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground
pepper to taste.
Heat oven to 200degC fanbake.
Trim fat and connective tissue from chicken thighs. The bone
has already been removed so you have a pocket for the
stuffing. Wash and dry the chicken pieces and set aside.
To make the stuffing, tear the bread into pieces and whizz in
a processor until you have large crumbs.
Remove the core from the piece of apple, cut into rough
pieces, put in the processor with the onion and whizz
briefly. Add the breadcrumbs back to the processor, along
with the olive oil, thyme and seasoning. Whizz until it is
just combined but not a paste.
Spread a couple of spoonfuls of stuffing on half of each
chicken thigh and fold the other half over. Tie with cotton
string to hold them secure. You can freeze them at this stage
if you wish.
Place on a shallow tray, brush lightly with oil, sprinkle
with salt and freshly ground pepper and roast in the oven for
35-45 minutes. To test if they are done, pierce the chicken
with the point of a knife, and if the juice runs clear, they
Cut the string with a knife or scissors and remove it. Slice
the mini-roasts thickly to serve.
Hot or cold roasted vegetable saladYou can use whatever is in
season. Root vegetables roast well, but alternatives are
capsicum, eggplant, portobello mushrooms, or zucchini strips
Prepare the vegetables. Cut into cubes of about 2cm. The
smaller they are the faster they cook.
Put in a bowl and toss with a little oil until they are
lightly coated, then spread in a single layer on a shallow
roasting tray. Roast them for 15-20 minutes until soft inside
and crispy at the edges.
Serve with dressing.
DressingWhisk all the ingredients with a fork in a small
bowl. Drizzle over the warm roasted vegetables and stir
gently to coatServe hot or cold alongside the mini chicken
roasts, accompanied by a green vegetable or salad on the
• You can use chicken breast instead of thighs but you will
need to cut a pocket for the stuffing.
• Removing skin from chicken removes most of the fat, making
it a healthy, lean meat.
• Always wash your hands and utensils after touching raw
chicken, so you do not pass on any contamination.
• Do not use dried breadcrumbs - they need to be fresh and
wholegrain bread is more flavoursome and healthier than
• You can use any fruit that is in season. Half a kiwifruit,
nectarine or apricot is a good alternative, as are dried
cranberries, walnuts or pine nuts. You could also substitute
cheese for the fruit.
• Any leftover stuffing can be frozen. It can be scattered
over fish fillets or zucchini halves and baked for 20 minutes
at 180degC. It is also used to stuff schnitzel to make beef
• Make sure you use cotton string, not nylon which will melt
in the oven.
• You can prepare the vegetables the night before and store
in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
• It is a good idea to do extra roast vegetables as they are
good hot or cold and leftovers can be the base of another
meal. They make a good pizza topping or try serving them with
sweet chilli sauce and sour cream, or make a soup with
coconut milk and chicken stock and flavoured with fish sauce,
a little brown sugar and lemon juice.
• To make a more substantial salad, add baby salad greens,
baby beetroot, red pepper strips and chunks of feta along
with the dressing.
• Thanks to Afife Harris and Centre City New