Chicken & potatoes baked with a yummy Italian sauce, topped with melted cheese. Super fast to prepare, dinner in a single pan – comfort food central!
We completely bypassed Autumn here in Sydney. One week ago, I was still in short and thongs, splashing around in the surf with Dozer, just as I was back in December. But now, it’s freezing.
Let me rephrase – cold by Sydney standards. “Cold” being 55F/13C. It will get colder as we get into the height of winter, but really, the truth is that even in winter, most days it’s as warm as spring.
However, this today it does actually feel like winter. As I’m typing up this post, I’m sitting at my desk with a hot water bottle on my lap (nana alert!) with a steaming cup of herbal tea permanently beside me.
So it’s a perfect day to share this Italian Baked Chicken dish. This dish is something that evolved from an Italian marinade I use for chicken that I grill on the BBQ. It was one of those “throw together” dishes using ingredients I had on hand, and after the first time I made it I knew it was a keeper.
I like to use bone-in skin-on chicken thigh cutlets because I love how golden brown the skin gets and also bone-in chicken is always so much juicier.
Most of the time I make this without marinating the chicken in the Italian Dressing- it doesn’t need to be marinated because this recipe creates a great sauce to slop up with the chicken. But if you do marinate the chicken, it makes this dish even tastier because the Italian flavours will infuse into the chicken. You can marinate it for up to 24 hours.
The Italian Dressing I make for this dish is made with thyme or oregano leaves and rosemary, a combination of herbs that I find quintessentially Italian. I use white or red wine vinegar in the Dressing, but you can use any vinegar you have, even balsamic will work, or lemon juice.
I usually make this by par boiling the potatoes and searing the chicken enough so it’s partially cooked before plonking it in the oven to finish cooking. I like to do it this way because by par boiling the potatoes, it sucks up more of the Italian Dressing as it cooks.
However, I’ve also provided directions in the notes for how to make this without par boiling the potatoes. The steps are every so slightly different.
To all those in the southern hemisphere with me – hope you keep warm!!! – Nagi xx
- 4 - 5 chicken thigh fillets, skin on and bone in (about 6oz/200g each)
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tin (14oz/400g) crushed tomatoes
- 1½ cups cherry tomatos
- 3 medium size potatoes (around 1.5lb/ 750g), peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated (or any other good melting cheese)
- Salt and pepper
- ½ tbsp each dried rosemary and thyme (OR oregano) leaves (or 2 tbsp fresh)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp red wine or white wine vinegar (Note 1)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Basil leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Mix together Italian Dressing ingredients.
- Boil or microwave the potatoes until slightly undercooked - about 5 minutes boiling / 5 minutes on high in a steamer in the microwave. Use a fork to rough the potatoes up a bit - this allows the potatoes to absorb more of the dressing flavour - and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in large oven proof skillet over high heat.
- Add chicken and brown well on both sides - around 5 minutes each side.
- Remove skillet from heat, and pour off the excess fat.
- Place potatoes around the chicken and pour over the crushed tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle the Italian Dressing all over.
- Place cherry tomatoes on top and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle on cheese, then bake for a further 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil leaves if you wish.
2. You can substitute the white wine or red wine vinegar with any other vinegar - ordinary white vinegar, balsamic, sherry vinegar etc. Lemon juice would also be an adequate substitute.
3. If you want to marinate the chicken, mix up the dressing and put it in a ziplock bag with the chicken and marinate it for up to 24 hours. Then follow the instructions of the recipe, using the marinade in the ziplock bag.
4. To cook entirely in oven: I like to par boil the potatoes because when it is roughed up, they suck up the Italian Dressing. However, this can be cooked entirely in the oven i.e. without par boiling the potatoes. To do this, just brown the skin of the chicken lightly, then follow the recipe to place the raw potatoes, cherry tomatoes and pour over the Italian Dressing. Then bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Top with cheese and bake for 5 minutes until melted.
Originally published July 2014, updated with fresh new photos.
IT’S MEMORIAL DAY TODAY
Just before I sign off, I just want to acknowledge that today is Memorial Day in America. It’s a public holiday, and it marks the start of summer. But actually, it’s a day of remembrance for all those American soldiers who served and lost their lives in service.
There is no doubt that much of the rest of the world benefits from America’s defence force. And that includes me in Australia, my family and friends. And you, wherever you are in this big wide world.
I know military and defence generally is a topic of political debate globally. But I hope that today, all that is set aside and we can all take a minute to acknowledge the American soldiers who served and never returned home, and the families that suffered such a tragic loss. – Nagi xx