Chicken is still one of the most popular items on family dinner tables, and I'm always trying to think of new ways to cook it. Keeping things simple by making a one-pot oven dish is one way. These two recipes use classic flavours and have become firm favourites.

Green olives, tomato and lemon is such a good Italian-inspired combination. With chicken and potatoes it rounds off a complete meal. Giving the potatoes an extra 10 minutes means they'll go nice and golden. Skin-on bone-in chicken thighs will add more moisture and flavour, but skinless and boneless are very easy to eat, so just take your pick.

I'm experimenting with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours all the time and the spiced chicken thighs are a result. The red onion goes slightly crispy with the spices, which adds great flavour. I used homemade preserved lemon for these - if you've never tried it, it's a good time of year to give it a go. Serve with a couscous dish, or just greens.

Chicken thighs with green olives, tomato and lemon

Moroccan chicken with preserved lemon. Photo / Nick Reed
Moroccan chicken with preserved lemon. Photo / Nick Reed

8 free range chicken thighs (I used boneless, but bone-in will stay moist and provide extra flavour)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
¾ cup Sicilian olives
Flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper
8-10 small new season potatoes
3 small sprigs fresh thyme
Juice and zest of one lemon

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Preheat oven to 190C. Place the potatoes in a medium-sized roasting dish and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil.

Season generously with salt and pepper and place the chicken on top.

Sprinkle the oregano on top of the chicken, and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Scatter over the olives and tomatoes, and most of the lemon zest.

Squeeze the lemon juice all over the dish, and the remaining two Tbsp olive oil.

Finally, add the thyme sprigs.

Cook for about 25 minutes, then stir the dish. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the dish, and set aside on a plate covered with tinfoil. Return the potatoes to the oven, increase the heat slightly and roast for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown.

Return the chicken to the dish for a final 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and garnish with additional herbs and lemon zest. Serve straight on the table in the roasting pan, or arrange on a platter, spooning the tomato and olive mixture on top of the chicken.

Spiced chicken thighs with fennel and red onion

Tomato, olive, potato and chicken bake. Photo / Nick Reed
Tomato, olive, potato and chicken bake. Photo / Nick Reed

6-8 chicken thighs
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp preserved lemon, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sumac
2 tsp fennel seeds
Small pinch cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C. Transfer chicken and marinade to a roasting dish and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.

Serve on baby spinach, alongside your favourite vegetables, salad, or with couscous.