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A sheet pan supper suggests a lot: dinner on a single pan, vegetables cooked with proteins, side dishes with entrées, a complete meal requiring minimal fuss and clean-up. It’s the convenience of a crock pot in a fraction of the time.
If you’ve made a sheet pan supper, however, you likely know the salient difference: You can’t, or rarely can you, simply “set it and forget it.” The art of a sheet pan supper lies in assessing your ingredients, then employing tricks to ensure the cooking does right by each. You may need to stagger the entrance and exit of the various elements or cover the pan with foil to create steam or adjust the oven rack to achieve more or less browning.
In this chicken and cabbage sheet pan supper, however, the tricks are minimal. First, chicken thighs, tossed in a sesame-soy dressing, roast alone, which allows the hot air, unimpeded by vegetables, to circulate freely and encourages the browning process to being. After 10 minutes, on goes the cabbage, tossed in the same dressing. It’s nestled around and underneath the chicken to fit. About 20 minutes later, when the chicken finishes cooking, off it goes to rest, while the cabbage continues on alone. With its surfaces fully exposed to the heat, the cabbage’s edges crisp and caramelize while any juices pooling nearby reduce and concentrate.
In about 40 minutes, dinner is ready. The result: juicy, crispy-skinned chicken and sweet, tender cabbage, flavored by not only the spicy dressing, but also the flavorful drippings of the chicken. It’s an unexpected and unsung boon of this one-pan wonder of a supper.
Now, here are a few tips for sheet pan supper success:
A quick online search will show that classics likes paella, saltimbocca, and chicken parmesan can all become sheet pan meals. Which is to say, you can create your own mash-ups, too! The dressing for this one—coconut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha—was borrowed from this Baked Tofu with Coconut Kale and could work with other vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash) and proteins (steak, fish, pork, tempeh). When considering dressings, use a flavorful oil such as olive or coconut and something sharp to balance it, like soy sauce, vinegar, lemon, lime, or orange juice. Countless spices could be added to the dressing, but be careful of sweeteners—even a small amount of honey or brown sugar will encourage browning and may even burn before everything finishes cooking.
Before beginning, assess the ingredients and consider how long it will take to cook each. Use these times to plan which will enter and exit the sheet pan first. Cut vegetables into similarly sized pieces to help them all cook at the same rate.
For easy clean-up, you could line your pan with parchment or foil. Rubbing the pan with a 1/2 teaspoon of neutral oil works nearly as well.
Use your broiler. If, at the end, everything is cooked through but not browned to your liking, set the sheet pan under the broiler briefly, watching closely to prevent burning.
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil, for greasing
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or other)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional
- 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 head cabbage, 2 to 3 lbs.
What's your ideal "set it and forget it" meal? Tell us in the comments below!