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Heather Brown, of Dunedin, shows how to make mini chicken roasts.
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 roasts
2-4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1-2 slices toast bread, wholegrain
¼ apple, skin on, roughly chopped
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 salad
½ cup pumpkin, deseeded, peeled and cubed
½ parsnip, peeled and cubed
1-2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
½ cup kumara, peeled and cubed
½ onion, peeled and cut into wedges
garlic cloves (optional)
1 Tbsp olive or other oil
½ tsp dried rosemary
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 are cooked.
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 added later.
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 side.
• 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 white.
• 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 olives.
• 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 World.