Baked Chicken In Tomato & Basil
by Kevin Shinn, Chef , Bread & Cup, Lincoln, Nebraska
I typically use fresh tomatoes in this recipe, but the task of coring, peeling, and seeding tomatoes is a little time-consuming. I have substituted canned tomatoes here, but if you are up to the task, nothing can beat the flavor of the chicken baked with garden-fresh tomato.
- 1 to 2 pounds Smart Chicken legs and thighs
- 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces canned, peeled whole tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat 3 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet or sauté pan. Season the chicken with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and place skin-side down in hot oil until lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn each piece over and brown for another 3 to 4 minutes.
While the chicken is browning, prepare the tomato sauce. In a small saucepot, over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 3 teaspoons of oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft and shiny, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil, and cook until simmering. Mash tomatoes as they soften to break them up a bit. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer chicken into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and carefully ladle hot tomato sauce over chicken. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken pulls apart at the bone easily. The internal temperature of the chicken should register 165°F. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
Serve with a simple rice pilaf—or my favorite, pearl barley. Pearl barley has a similar texture to rice, but a nuttier flavor.
Pairing: You’ll find the flavors in this Italian dish pair well with Chianti.