How do you define comfort food? For me, it's a meal or dish that is easy to make and undemanding, yet deeply flavorful and homey, as though it has been tended to for hours to reap delicious results. Sheet-pan recipes often fall into this category.
A sheet pan dish is simply that - a complete meal assembled on a pan and plopped in the oven, where the meat, vegetables and aromatics mingle together. Their juices baste the dish, along with any other liquids, such as a splash of wine or stock, infused by sprigs of fresh and woodsy herbs.
Bone-in chicken thighs are perfect for sheet pan cooking. They are almost impossible to overcook, and the succulent meat does not dry out, allowing the time needed to tenderize and brown additional ingredients, such as sturdy root vegetables, sweet onions and earthy mushrooms.
In this recipe, I use cipollini onions. Cipollini onions are small, flattened red and yellow onions. They are sweeter and milder than their larger yellow, red and white brethren, making them great for roasting and caramelizing. Mushrooms are also a key ingredient of this dish. As they roast, their juices impart a rich umami flavor to the pan juices. Any mushroom will work, but try to choose a selection of wild mushrooms, if possible. I used a mix of shiitake, beech, king trumpet and cremini mushrooms in this recipe. Be sure to cut them into large bite-size pieces of similar size.
Lynda Balslev is the co-author of "Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture" (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the TasteFood blog at tastefoodblog.com.