In one of my inspired moments, I dreamed up this so-easy-to-cook cheese-topped baked chicken and potato dish. Since I had a pack of chicken thighs, there was no chopping to be done. The only “real” work here was peeling and cutting the potatoes, browning the chicken and potato wedges in butter, and grating the cheese. The rest was just a matter of waiting and checking the oven once in a while.
Preparation time was about 10 minutes. Total cooking time was about 45 minutes. Best of all, there were minimal bowls and utensils to wash.
For a meal for four people, you will need 8 large chicken thighs (use skinless breasts for less fat), 4-5 potatoes, an onion, a cup of cream, chopped parsley (fresh or dried), salt, pepper, 1/4 c. of butter and about a cup of grated quickmelt cheese (something like Velveeta for those in North America).
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and let rest in a bowl while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel the potatoes and cut into wedges. Peel the onion, cut into halves and slice thinly.
Melt the butter in a non-stick sauté pan (you might need more butter if you’re using an ordinary pan). When hot, brown the chicken thighs, turning them for even browning. Lift with kitchen tongs as they brown and arrange on a baking pan. Note that the chicken thighs need not be cooked through at this point. Just brown the outside then transfer them to the baking pan.
Brown the potato wedges in the remaining butter and add to the chicken.
Saute the sliced onion and sprinkle on top of the chicken and potatoes (see photo above).
Take a cup of cream (substitute yogurt if you’re watching your fat and cholesterol intake) and pour over the chicken, potatoes and sliced onion. You may sprinkle more salt and pepper at this point since the potatoes will absorb most of the salt from the chicken that will get mixed into the liquid as the dish cooks. Remember that you can always add salt even when the dish is already on the dining table but you will never be able to take back what you put in. So, go easy on the salt.
Sprinkle chopped parsley all over after pouring in the cream (see photo above). Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, piercing it with a fork in a few places to create steam vents. Bake in a preheated 180oC oven for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken thighs.
Take the baking pan out of the oven and peel off the foil. Do this carefully since the steam that will escape can burn your fingers.
Spread the grated cheese over the cooked chicken and potatoes (above). Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes longer or until the cheese melts.
The photo above was how the cheese-topped baked chicken and potatoes looked just before it went on the dining table. According to my kids, this is one of the best dishes I have invented so far. :)