I love a One Pan meal. I mean how can you not?… one pan means less utensils to use, less stirring to do, and the biggest obvious…. less dishes to wash! It’s awesome! The only thing better?…. Sheet Pan Meal!! No watching over, little to no stirring, and in my opinion, everything just tastes awesome when roasted.
With our busy New York lifestyle, we make a LOT of sheet pan meals. I love putting my protein and veggies in one pan, toss in a various mix of herbs, spices and just shove it in the oven. Once I’m done with my 1st glass of wine, dinner is ready 🙂 So yeah I’ve made my fair share of sheet pan meals. Of all the sheet pan recipes, this chicken and eggplant dish is by far our absolute favorite.
About Sheet Pan Meals:
Sheet pan dishes are a great way to bring the big flavors of a specific cuisine or dish using bold spices and herbs, with minimal effort. Roasting intensifies the flavors of herbs and spices, so you get the most concentrated flavors. Plus, roasting food in the oven usually require little to no cooking liquid so it leads to a caramelized/crispy texture. Also in my humble opinion, it’s a great way to try any spices for the first time! Just sprinkle any spice on some chicken, put it in the oven and see how you like it!
About This Recipe:
I came up with this recipe while I was dating my now husband, at his old apartment. He lived in the Upper East side of Manhattan and like most apartments in the city, he had a tiny kitchen. At the same time, I knew Omar had great knowledge and desire for flavorful food. I remember the very first time I visited his place, I saw that he had Sumac and Za’atar on his spice rack and I thought he was SO COOL! So I wanted make all these delicious meals for him, but didn’t know how in the small space, and I refused to compromise the flavors in my dishes. That’s when I started making all these sheet pan meals.
As I said, this is our absolute favorite sheet pan meal. I’ve made this on a tired Wednesday, on a lazy Sunday, and even for many many dinner parties. And it’s always a hit! It has all the big flavors of the Middle East. It uses the most commonly used spices from the region, Sumac and Zatar.
Sumac is made of a type of berries from the Middle east, which has a lemony flavor. Za’atar is a spice blend made of dried herbs like thyme, oregano, marjarom, etc. and dried spices like sesame seeds, sumac, cumin. If you can’t find them at your local store, just order them online, they have some great ones on amazon like these, Za’atar and Sumac.
Although Za’atar includes them, the addition of extra cumin and sumac in this recipe helps enhance those flavors in the dish. I used sour cream here because I’ve been avoiding lactose, but I’ve made this using yogurt as well and it comes out just as perfectly. Also, if you don’t have Aleppo pepper you can use red pepper flakes… or just skip it all together.
- 4 chicken legs
- 2 small eggplants, cut in halves (or big eggplants cut into big chunks)
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp za’atar
- 1/4 tsp sumac
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp aleppo pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5-6 whole olives (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, parsley (either or both)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating up, put the pan in the oven so it heats up as well. **See note 1
- Toss the everything BUT the chopped cilantro and parsley in a bowl and mix everything well. Carefully take out the hot pan from the oven and arrange the chicken (skin side up) and eggplant (cut side down) in the pan in a single layer. Pour the rest of the marinade on top.
- Place the pan in the oven (on the middle rack) and immediately turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
- Roast for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken juice runs clear.
- Sprinkle the chopped herbs (cilantro, parsley) on top. Serve with rice or flatbread of any kind!
- Heating up the pan in the oven really helps creating a non-stick surface. It’s very much like heating up a pan on the stove top. Anytime I heat up the pan before placing anything on it, my food just never sticks!