Within the introduction to Sheet Pan Hen—which, you need to know, is titled “Why the Hen Crossed the Sheet Pan” (!)—cookbook creator, podcast host, and award-winning meals author Cathy Erway argues that the sheet pan, in contrast to, say, a George Foreman Grill or Immediate Pot, is just not a fleeting development. It is “everlasting,” she writes. Certainly, this straightforward, sturdy kitchen staple is the beginning of numerous dinners, from lamb meatballs and pork chops to candy potatoes and mac and cheese. However this ebook, as you would possibly’ve already guessed from its title, focuses on one humble protein that, maybe, you assume you are uninterested in. You do not have to be. On this assortment, which got here out in September, Erway shares 50 crispy, saucy, savory, wake-you-up hen recipes—most of which I sticky-noted as quickly as I picked up the ebook, and three of that are excerpted beneath. However first, let’s hear from the creator.
This interview has been edited for readability.
EMMA LAPERRUQUE: I really like the specificity of this cookbook. Are you able to inform me extra about the way you landed on this idea?
CATHY ERWAY: Thanks! I really like the tight focus of single-subject cookbooks, and this theme actually appealed to me when the editors of TASTE approached me with the thought for Sheet Pan Hen. As a contributor for TASTE, I’ve written about hen and residential cooking loads, in order that they thought that this might be an important challenge for me to do, and I used to be thrilled that they requested. I feel that the idea of Sheet Pan Hen marries this standard, sensible house cooking development—placing all of your components on a sheet pan and letting them roast within the oven collectively—with a protein that’s beloved across the globe, and occurs to be probably the greatest issues to roast within the oven.
EL: In comparison with different strategies, like searing or poaching or grilling, what’s it about roasting that makes hen so good?
CE: Every part has its place, proper? I really like poaching hen or fish. And naturally, grilling offers you that unmistakable char you’re not going to get elsewhere (and it’s enjoyable!). For me, one of many greatest pluses of roasting hen is economic system together with your time and efforts, due to the effectivity of numerous the cooking course of being hands-off. However then you’ve dry warmth that step by step evaporates the moisture out of your components as they cook dinner, concentrating their flavors and crisping their surfaces. So hen pores and skin turns into this crispy chip versus a gelatinous layer such as you get with stewing—and I like stewed hen pores and skin! Nevertheless it’s only a totally different end result and it’s simply as simple, in my view.
EL: So lots of the recipes begin with an oven at 425°F or 450°F—why is that this excessive warmth necessary?
CE: Yup. Most of the time, 450°F was the place the Maillard magic was at for a skin-on, bone-in piece of hen, in addition to chunks of dense greens like squash or cauliflower. I feel that this has elevated through the years for a pair causes, one being that we as a tradition are inclined to want extra darkly browned and crispy components. The opposite is that I feel most commercially accessible hen within the U.S. immediately is just not fairly what it was, and never what you would possibly discover in different elements of the world…they’re very younger birds, in order that they’re very tender. So in contrast to with a turkey or perhaps a heritage-breed or simply older chook, which could want a extra slow-and-low roast to essentially make tender, you possibly can simply type of blast it with actually excessive warmth in an oven till it’s simply cooked, and earlier than it overcooks or dries out.
EL: What are a couple of recipes that you simply knew you’d embody as quickly as you took on this challenge?
CE: I simply couldn’t cease developing with concepts, it was so enjoyable. I instantly knew I wished to do a paprika hen, or hen paprikash, on a sheet pan as a result of I really like this dish and simply thought it’d work nicely. (Paprika-rubbed hen roasted with sliced onions and peppers? Sure, please!) I knew that I wished to do some model of my mom’s soy-sauce-marinated hen, and I additionally wished to do hen with Cornell sauce, which is that this regional upstate New York recipe that my father’s household makes each time grilling hen. I wished to do a clam bake on a sheet pan with hen dusted with Previous Bay. And one thing involving Dijon and bacon and oh-so-French issues, like plenty of slivered onions, button mushrooms, and cream, which turned a type of riff on a hen moutarde stew. And so forth, and so forth.
EL: And what about a couple of recipes that you simply stumbled upon in your analysis?
CE: Recipe analysis got here within the type of reaching out to meals writers whose work I really like and seeing in the event that they wish to lend a recipe to the gathering. So by way of that, I bought to study Oaxacan oregano roast hen with an insanely tasty rub with garlic and recent oregano that you simply’ll discover at small eating places all through the area, due to Pati Jinich’s recipe. I discovered about crimson palm oil from Yewande Komolafe’s recipe, and I really like this ingredient—I’m so glad that she included it. I discovered about tinola, a hen and papaya stew from the Philippines that Jenn de la Vega determined to make her sheet pan riff based mostly on. I discovered about Persian jujeh (or joojeh) kabob that Louisa Shafia based mostly her recipe on. And so forth. I used to be delighted to seek out that a lot of them took the same strategy to what I used to be doing with many recipes—which was retooling a dish that wasn’t initially cooked in a sheet pan for the sheet pan.
EL: Are you able to inform me extra about this collaboration with different recipe builders, and the way that formed the ebook?
CE: I used to be actually happy how, in the long run, it approached the texture of a neighborhood cookbook. Though there are solely eight recipes which might be truly from contributors—the remainder of the 42 recipes had been developed by me. However amongst these, I shouted out three extra cookbook authors whose work impressed a recipe—so for example, there’s a recipe for Vietnamese-Fashion Stuffed Tomatoes within the ebook that I attributed to Andrea Nguyen for inspiration, as a result of she launched me to this stuffed tomatoes dish in her cookbook Vietnamese Meals Any Day—though it was filled with floor pork, not hen! In order that was my adaptation, amongst a couple of different tweaks to make it sheet pan pleasant.
EL: Okay, lightning spherical: What’s your go-to hen half for a weeknight? What number of sheet pans are in your kitchen? And what’s one other fall cookbook that you simply’re diving into proper now?
CE: 1) Wings. 2) 4 half-sheet pans plus two smaller, jelly-roll-sized ones. 3) Xi’an Well-known Meals! And so many others. However that’s actually proper in entrance of me and its cowl picture of a messy tangle of noodles is so attractive!