Most everyone knows I have an obsessive love for France since I visited only two years ago. Lesser known is my love affair with Italy, specifically Florence, where I studied abroad nearly 10 years ago (I couldn't even legally drink in the US when I went to Italy, that's how young I was!). But while I think France may have won me over for good with Champagne, macarons, and Nutella crepes, Florence was my first foray into international waters, and I have a serious soft spot for it.
So when I found a recipe on Pinterest for Tuscan baked chicken, that was a no-brainer. However, it takes a while to bake, and since we don't have to go to work tomorrow, tonight seemed like the perfect night to make it.
You began by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and dry your chicken. The original recipe called for legs and thighs, but I just used breasts. Put a little olive oil in an oven-safe skillet and sear the chicken breasts on one side.
While the chicken is searing, chop a white onion into half-moons and smash 6 cloves of garlic (next time I would maybe use a few more cloves, but B and I really like garlic). It should look something like this:
Flip the chicken over and reduce the heat. Add the onion and garlic, as well as one 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary, but we didn't have either, so I used 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. I figured it would do the trick :) Add some salt and pepper as well. Then put it in the oven. This is what ours looked like before going in:
Bake for one hour. After one hour, CAREFULLY remove the skillet from the oven (I have a slightly singed left hand to show for my lack of coordination here). Pour in one cup of cooking sherry. However, we didn't have any cooking sherry, so I used half a cup of Marsala cooking wine and half a cup of the red wine we had sitting on the counter, which I believe is a Cabernet blend from Costco. This is what it looked like before we added the wine:
Put the pan back in the oven for 30 more minutes. We used this time to boil some whole wheat penne pasta and roast green beans with Parmesan. After 30 minutes are up, carefully remove from the oven for the last time.
All in all, the chicken actually didn't remind me of Italy (fresh basil is my biggest "take-me-back" flavor/scent), but it was a really delicious and easy meal that we will definitely be making again. The hour and a half bake time makes this not quite super-convenient for a work night, but it's a delicious, easy and impressive weekend meal. B loved it and I did, too. Check out the original recipe here, or see it with my modifications below.
Tuscan baked chicken
Some form of chicken (I used 3 breasts; the original recipe calls for chicken "quarters")
1 large white onion
6 cloves garlic (we would use more next time)
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (we used 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sherry (we used half a cup of Marsala wine and half a cup of red wine)
Preheat oven to 375.
Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Pour a little olive oil into an oven-safe skillet and heat on high heat. Pan-sear the chicken until golden brown.
While the chicken is searing, cut the onion into half-moon slivers, and peel and smash the garlic.
Flip the chicken over and reduce the heat. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs to the skillet.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on top and put into the oven.
Bake uncovered for one hour.
Pour the wine over the entire pan and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
We served it over whole wheat penne pasta, but it could just as easily go with mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, or rice - just pick your starch, and you're in business!