Skillet Baked Tuscan Style Chicken
Winner winner chicken dinner! There's no shortage of chicken dinners to choose from out there -- baked whole chicken, poached chicken, glazed chicken, fried chicken…so why is this Tuscan Style Baked Chicken worth sharing?
It is so delicious, if you're in a chicken dinner rut, this is your quick fix. Best of all, this is a one skillet meal with minimal prep work needed. You'll never guess how easy this is judging from the tender, juicy chicken you get, smothered in roasted tomatoes, melted onions, sweet garlic, rosemary and thyme, and a rich sherry wine sauce.
This baked chicken recipe comes from the unlikeliest of places -- my hometown public library. The place has really spruced up since my days of researching book reports there. And, the community events have beefed up too. Tai Chi? Oh yes. Zumba? Boogie down. The library even hosts Chef Nights where chefs from restaurants in the area come in and do a little demo and tasting. During my last visit home, I accompanied my mom to watch chef/owner David Venitelli demo some of the northern Italian fare he makes at Giulio's by Harvest Moon in Tappan, NY. There in the basement of our local public library, Chef Venitelli showed the housewives of Upper Saddle River and me just how easy this dish is to make.
Start out with chicken quarters, separated into drumsticks and thighs. Rinse and thoroughly pat them dry. Heat up your skillet and add a few tablespoons of oil, then sear the chicken, skin-side down, until a golden brown crust forms. Then, flip the pieces of chicken over and turn the heat off.
Add sliced onions
To the skillet, add one large onion sliced up, a can of whole peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano or Muir Glen tomatoes) squished through your fingers, half a dozen cloves of garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
Add tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings
Then, the whole thing goes in the oven where the chicken gets braised in its own juices and those of the onions and tomatoes that melt down. After an hour, take the skillet out and add a cup of sherry. This deglazes all the tasty browned bits on the bottom of the pan and creates a rich sauce. You don't even need to stir anything or scrape the pan, just drizzle the sherry on top. Back into the oven everything goes for another half hour.
And that's it! Dinner is done. The chicken is super moist and falling-off-the-bone tender. The onions get caramelized, the tomatoes and garlic roast up nice and sweet, the herbs get infused throughout, and that sherry wine sauce makes itself. Served over rice, with a side of Potato Smashers, and that is one fine chicken dinner.
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hr 30 min
Total time: 1 hr 50 min
Yield: 4 servings
- 3 chicken quarters, separated into drumsticks and thighs
- 1 large onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, liquid drained (San Marzano or Muir Glen preferred)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a few fresh sprigs)
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (or a few fresh sprigs)
- 1 cup Amontillado sherry
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Rinse and thoroughly pat dry the chicken pieces. Pour a little olive oil in the skillet and place over high heat. Pan-sear the chicken, skin-side down, until golden brown.
- While the chicken is browning, cut up the onion into half-moon slivers, and peel and smash the garlic.
- Flip the chicken pieces. To the skillet, add the onion, garlic, tomatoes (squishing them through your fingers so they're broken up -- watch out for the squirting seeds), thyme, and rosemary, distributing everything evenly. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over top.
- Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 1 hour.
- Pour the sherry over the entire pan (no stirring needed, just drizzle it over everything) and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
Culinary Tradition: Italian