Just one quick thing for a night when you are rushing about and before the last of the summer veggies leave the garden. Chicken Provencal (sort of). Sounds fancy, doesn't it? Don't let a long name fool you. This dish is just a matter of tossing together some odds and ends you probably have in your fridge, popping it into a really hot oven and then forgetting about it. Well actually, you won't forget about it because it sends a delicious, homey fragrance wafting through the air. Expect mouths to water in anticipation of a feast! The finished product is so pretty, that it easily goes straight from oven to table.
Traditional Chicken Provencal is a lovely sort of chicken stew. You brown the chicken, then braise it long and slow with tomatoes, wine and broth. It is utterly delicious, but time consuming. This version simplifies the process.
Notes: What piece of chicken to use for this? This is one instance where I prefer bone-in thighs. Dark meat doesn't dry out in flavorless, dusty bits. It holds up well to high heat and only gets better the longer you cook it. But if boneless/skinless white meat is what you have on hand, use it! Just be sure to adjust to a shorter cooking time. If you decide to use white meat, cover with foil part of way through to help retain moisture.
- 8-10 small chicken pieces
- 1/2 of lemon, sliced thin
- 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 onion (or more to taste) chopped into large chunks
- 5-6 smashed cloves of garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- a couple stems of fresh herbs - I used rosemary and oregano. Nothing fresh in the house? Substitute 1-2 teaspoons dried. Parsley would also be good here.
- 1/2 cup chicken stock.
- Optional: Big fat Kalumata olives or capers would be great in this dish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. You can leave the skin on or off. Arrange in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Scatter about the tomatoes, onion, garlic and lemon. Drizzle on the olive oil and toss everything around a little to coat. Season all with salt and pepper and thyme. Lay springs of fresh herbs if using, or sprinkle on dried.
Place pan in oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of cooking at high heat, pour chicken stock around the edges. Turn oven down to 400 and bake for 45 minutes. Sometimes I cover with foil and sometimes I forget. Either way is fine. Serve with nice crusty bread to soak up the delicious pan juices.
An easy side dish for this, is a pan of roasted vegetables. Recently, I used a mixture of baby potatoes, baby carrots, onions, and eggplant. Toss with a couple cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Place in the oven alongside chicken. Bake for an hour or until veggies and browned and cooked through.