Roast Chicken Breasts Is One of My Favorite Meals
In our house, this is one of those staples we’ll prepare once or twice a month because it’s so easy to make, provides a balanced meal and everyone enjoys it. It’s also very adaptable and depending on what you have on hand, you can substitute ingredients to make it your own.
We like chicken thighs but you could substitute legs. I don’t think I’ve made this with breast meat, but if I did, I would be sure to use bone in breasts and be careful not to overcook them or they will be too dry.
My oldest girl likes black olives so we always throw a handful of them in, potatoes, onions, garlic and/or whatever else you might have in the refrigerator.
We’ve added carrots, leeks, fennel, Brussels sprouts and they all add to the dish. What’s especially delicious about this dish is the crispy skin that’s seasoned with salt, pepper and any additional seasoning you may happen to enjoy.
Roasting is a very straightforward cooking technique. Put a cut of meat in a roasting pan in a moderate to hot oven, add in some seasonings and maybe some vegetables, and let it roast until the desired internal temperature is reached.
The one tool you really need for precision roasting is an instant read thermometer. Don't be intimidated by roasting. A good friend from Park City, Utah who does not spend a lot of time in the kitchen gave me this recipe. It is quick, easy and absolutely delicious.
Reluctant Gourmet's Tips
- You can substitute 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves with 1 tsp. of dried, but fresh is better in this dish. If you must use dried rosemary.
- Put the dried leaves in the palm of your hand and crush them with the the thumb of your other hand. This will "bruise" the leaves, releasing more of the essential oils, and more essential oil equals more flavor.
- Any brine-cured black olives can be substituted for Kalamata and remember to tell your guests there are pits so they don't break a tooth. If you want to pit them yourself to avoid any dental mishaps, use a cherry pitter.
Roast Chicken with Tomatoes, Potatoes and Olives
- Preheat your oven to 450º F.
- Use some spray olive oil to coat the roasting pan lightly.
- Using the flat of your chef knife or a mortar and pestle, mash 4 garlic cloves with salt into a paste.
- Whisk the garlic paste together with lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a lightly oiled shallow baking pan, make 4 beds with overlapping lemon slices. On each bed, place a chicken breast half, skin side up. Brush each piece of chicken with a bit of the garlic-lemon mixture, reserving about half for later, and season very lightly with salt and pepper.
- Quarter potatoes and toss with tomatoes, remaining 6 garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon olive oil until well coated. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Arrange vegetables around chicken and add olives and rosemary.
- Roast chicken and vegetables for 15 minutes, then brush with remaining garlic-lemon mixture, and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is done. The internal temperature should be 162º F.
- Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for several minutes, until the internal temperature reads 165º F.
- Discard lemon slices and serve chicken with vegetables, spooning pan juices over them.