I’ve never been one to build dinner around a large meaty foundation, adding pots of starches and veggies to simmer on the side – I like things all together, not least of all because cooking everything in one big pot minimizes dishes.
The thing about soups and stews and other one-pot wonders is that they’re all – stewy. Which is fine, but I firmly believe and will shout from the rooftops (does anyone ever do this?) that roasting is the best cooking method of anything ever, particularly vegetables. I can’t think of a vegetable that isn’t at its crunchy-sticky-caramelized best roasted: tomatoes? Yup. Broccoli? For sure. Squash? Obv. Cauliflower? Totally.
But here’s the beauty: you can roast chicken thighs in about the same amount of time it takes to roast veggies. On the same pan. Spreading them out on a sheet rather than tucking them into a deep roasting pan allows the heat to circulate, which means they’ll roast instead of steam. And if they start to mingle and get to know each other, all the better.
There’s more: just about anything works. Salmon and asparagus are equally quick, potatoes and root veggies do well with chicken, but if one element requires a little extra time, just get it into the oven first, and add to it partway through the cooking time. This time of year, when the hardier veggies that are made for roasting are at their peak, you can toss just about anything on a pan, shake it around with some oil, salt and pepper, maybe some rosemary or thyme, maybe some curry powder. And there’s no need to restrict yourself to one veggie – toss on a few, and make some of them fries.