Easy Roast Chicken & New Zealand Yams

It's that time of year again — New Zealand yams are in season! Last year I discovered these strange red and orange wrinkly veggies at my local grocery store. Not knowing what they were, I bought three and took them home to experiment. 

Turns out, they are delicious and I should have bought way more than three. Once I learned how to cook them, they quickly became a Sunday evening winter staple in my house. 

Here's a fantastic set and forget recipe using New Zealand yams (can be substituted with baby pearl potatoes) that only requires a bit of chopping and one roasting dish for easy clean up. But I usually make 2 dishes so I can enjoy leftovers. 

Roast Chicken and New Zealand Yams

Ingredients

6 chicken thighs
1 yellow onion
1 red onion
1.25 lbs of New Zealand Yams
(or bag of baby potatoes)
brussel sprouts
4 garlic cloves
Olive oil
1 Lemon
1-2 tbsp of herbs de provence
fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste

There are really no exact measurements. I usually add as little or as many veggies and spices as I like. Get creative!

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF

2. Rinse your yams or potatoes and place them in a roasting dish. If they're fairly large, chop them in half so they cook through faster.

3. Peel and chop both yellow and red onions and add them to the roasting dish.

4. Rinse the brussel sprouts discarding any outside leaves that are damaged, chop the sprouts in half and add to the roasting dish. 

5. Add 4 garlic cloves to the mix, keeping the skin on.

6. Drizzle the veggies with a generous amount of olive oil (3-4 tablespoons). Squeeze the lemon over the veggies and throw the lemon halves in the roasting dish. Mix the veggies until they are well coated in oil and juice. 

7. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Bury the chicken amongst the vegetables with sprigs of fresh thyme.

8. Roast for 30 minutes, checking in to make sure the chicken is not over cooking. Baste the juices that have collected at the bottom. If the chicken has cooked, remove and place on a warm plate while the vegetables continue to roast. Roast for an additional 20-30 minutes until the yams are completely soft. 

The finished dish is delicious combination of sweet caramelized onions and yams bathed in savory spices and chicken juices — the perfect comfort food for New Zealand winter with only one dish to clean on a lazy Sunday evening. 

Guilt-free Chocolate Macaroons: Little Bird, Big Flavor

With summer right around the corner here in New Zealand, I've been trying to cut back on the amount of dairy and sugar I consume, and looking for healthy substitutes to curb my cravings and satisfy my sweet tooth. Last week, while shopping at the wholefoods store, I discovered these Little Bird macaroons. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures: A taste of Mardi Gras in New Zealand

This morning, I'm sitting on my balcony listening to the locusts in the trees, gazing out over the Pacific Ocean... and enjoying a piece of king cake! Woo hoo!! For those of you non-Louisianian readers, a King Cake is like a big purple, green and gold cinnamon roll  we eat during the Carnival Season leading up to Fat Tuesday. And it's got a little plastic baby Jesus in it! And it's basically a little slice of heaven.

Vietnamese Pho Real

Today I'm comin' atcha with a little taste of Vietnam (or rather my interpretation of Kim's Vietnamese in Encinitas, CA, since I've yet to visit to Vietnam). This morning I woke up with a scratchy throat. Yuck. Which lead to a serious Pho (pronounced 'fuh') craving. When I lived in Encinitas, I used to order Kim's Chicken and Mushroom Pho regularly. Sadly, I have not yet discovered my "go-to" Vietnamese restaurant here, so instead of searching for Pho, I'm bringing the Pho to me... and making enough to last for days so I don't have to worry about cooking!

Zea's Spinach Pepper Jelly Salad for Waitangi Day

This past week Joe and I celebrated our very first Waitangi Day here in New Zealand. The day commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. I guess you could sort of compare it to Fourth of July in the states. It’s a time to enjoy the day off, get together with friends, and eat, drink and be merry. Joe and I were invited to a BBQ at one of his coworker’s homes, and they asked us to bring a salad. I love playing in the kitchen, so I was hoping for more of an opportunity to experiment with a new dish. But if I had to bring a salad, I still wanted to make it dee-lish! So I was inspired to prepare an easy recipe from home.