When it comes to spices, I'm such a baby. I don't like rosemary, oregano, cilantro, coriander, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom... you get the point. I've always been known as the "bland eater" in my family--you know, that person who orders the plain roast chicken while everyone else is ordering exotic, highly flavored foods. So the fact that I don't just tolerate but actually LOVE thyme, is sort of a big deal for me. Which leads me to the deliciousness of this one pan chicken dinner. Tender chicken braised in a subtle red wine sauce along with tomatoes and onions all enhanced by fresh thyme--it's one of my new favorites and earned me a "Mom, this might just be the best chicken dish you ever made!" Enough of an endorsement?!!
Even though it's officially spring now and the weather is definitely warming up, the nights are still pretty chilly so I haven't entirely made the jump to lighter, more warm-weather eating yet (not that this wouldn't be good year round but it does seem more of a wintry kind of dish). In any case, the tantalizing smells wafting down from the kitchen to my husband's basement office were enough to have him scurrying up the steps to investigate!
And though this looks and tastes like a gourmet meal, it's actually easy to prepare and as you've probably already guessed from the title, cooks entirely in one pan! You start by dredging chicken pieces in flour that's been seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
Next you brown the chicken in a skillet--
Eventually adding tomatoes and thinly sliced red onions to the pan where they soften up in a combo of red wine and chicken broth.
Then the chicken gets added back in and the whole skillet goes into the oven where the chicken finishes cooking and becomes infused with that rich hearty sauce! And while the chicken is baking, you can cook up some rice or pasta or anything that will help you to sop up all that wonderful gravy!
The whole dish achieves that magical balance of bring both intensely flavorful and simply comforting at the same time! Perfect for the "spice-compromised" like me!
One Skillet Chicken with Red Wine, Tomatoes, Onions and Thyme
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Cook Time: 45 minutes-1 hour
- One 3 1/2-4 pound chicken cut up into 8 pieces or the equivalent in the parts of your choice (I only used skin-on, bone-in breasts)
- 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- The leaves from 6-7 fresh thyme sprigs, divided
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Place the flour, 3/4 of the thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste in a shallow bowl and mix well. Coat the chicken pieces all over in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and place on a plate.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet ( I used my cast iron pan) over medium-high heat until the butter melts and is very hot. Brown the chicken pieces in 2 batches if necessary (you don't want to crowd the pan too much) skin side down for about 6-7 minutes per side until golden brown on the outside. Then turn the chicken over and let brown for 6-7 minutes on the underside. Only turn the chicken once. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
4. Don't wash out the skillet. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, until them begin to break down. Pour in the wine and broth and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan so that any browned bits stuck there are loosened. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 4-5 minutes, until it reduces slightly.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chicken pieces back in, skin side up, in a single layer. Sprinkle with more thyme if you like and salt and pepper to taste and place the entire skillet in the oven. (If your pan is very full, you may want to place a tray beneath it on the rack below or some silver foil to catch any drips. Roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, spooning the pan juices over the chicken every so often. When chicken is fully cooked through, remove from the oven and serve over a bed of rice, pasta or potatoes.
6. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I tinkered a bit with the proportions in the original recipe and cooked it for longer since we like our chicken more well done.