Chicken tray bake with soft polenta

the nights are getting a bit more chilly, and that means its time for nourishing comfort foods like soups, stews, mashed potato and this amazing tray bake with creamy polenta.
The best thing about it is this meal is made in one tray, which means minimal washing up – win win. Its also a great fridge clean-out recipe, as you can add any veggies you have on hand to make the sauce. Using tinned beans in meals is a great way to make a meal stretch further, plus adding additional protein and fibre. We used borlotti, but cannellini, butter or kidney beans would also work well.  

We served this meal with a quick creamy polenta, but you could serve this meal with a pulse pasta or mashed potatoes. It freezes well and is the ultimate comfort food now the nights are getting slightly more chilly!

Hot tip:

Save your vegetable off cuts such as the onion skins, carrot ends and parsley stalks. Add these to a small saucepan along with the leftover chicken bones. Cover with water, place over low heat with a lid on, and simmer for one hour for a quick chicken stock!

How to serve:

For spoon feeding: puree the roasted vegetables and chicken until smooth

For baby-led weaning: serve a whole drumstick with the pureed vegetable sauce for dipping

For older babies: serve a whole drumstick or shredded pieces of chicken with sauce and soft polenta

Chicken Tray Bake with Soft Polenta

Luka McCabe
Course 1 meal a day, 2 meals a day, 3 meals a day, Baby Led Weaning, BLW, Family Meals, Main Course
Servings 4 adults


  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 capsicums cut into strips
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 8 ripe tomatoes halved, see notes
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme see notes
  • 1 kg bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks/thighs
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 400 gram tin borlotti beans drained and rinsed, see notes
  • 1 cup fresh flat parsley finely chopped

To serve

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • parmesan cheese

Soft polenta

  • 250 grams quick cook polenta
  • 1 L chicken bone broth


  • Preheat the oven 180*C.
  • Put the onion, carrot, capsicum, garlic, tomatoes, thyme and chicken into a roasting tray. Pour in the water and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes. The chicken is cooked when the juice runs clear when cut in the thickest part.
  • Remove the chicken from the tray and place to the side. Use a stick blender or food processor to blitz the cooked vegetables and pan juices into a sauce. If you are spoon feeding, put 2 tablespoons of the sauce into a jar along with a small piece of chicken. Puree until smooth, adding a splash of water or bone broth if needed to thin it out.
  • Add the olives, beans and parsley to the sauce and check for seasoning.You can serve the chicken in whole pieces, or shred the meat and stir it through the sauce. Whole drumsticks are great for baby-led weaning – just be sure to check that there are no splinters or loose cartilage.
  • Keep the sauce and chicken in the warm oven whilst you prepare the polenta. Place the chicken bone broth into a medium saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, add the polenta, using a whisk to stir. Reduce the heat and continue to whisk for 3 minutes.
  • Serve the warm polenta immediately with a spoonful of the chicken. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh parmesan cheese.


  • This is a great fridge clean out recipe! You can add any vegetables you have on hand to make the sauce.
  • You can substitute fresh tomatoes for tinned tomatoes.
  • Tinned beans are a great way to make a meal stretch. They also provide additional protein and fibre! We used borlotti, but cannellini, butter or kidney beans would also work well.
  • This tray bake can also be served with pasta (our favourite are spelt, lentil or chickpea pasta) or mashed potatoes.
  • If you don’t have fresh thyme you can substitute for 2 teaspoons Italian herbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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