Monday, September 10, 2012

Baked Italian Chicken Breast Recipe ~ One baking pan!

Baked Italian Chicken Breasts
2 servings, but you can very easily multiply this dish to serve your needs.
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate, by Mari

This makes a great dish for entertaining. (Of course predicated on the number of roasting pans you can fit in your oven/ovens.)

The baking of this dish is done in two parts; first you partially roast the tomatoes, pancetta/bacon, oregano and garlic. Then, when they are partially roasted the chicken and olives are added to continue baking until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

8 ounces tomatoes, halved (see my notes below)
4 ounces of a piece of flat pancetta, or slab bacon, coarsely chopped (see my notes below)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons, dried)
8 cloves garlic (separate cloves, but no need to peel)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 7 to 8 ounces each)
1/2 cup flavorful black olives (such as Kalamata)
cracked black pepper
basil leaves and finely grated parmesan for serving.

Preheat oven (center rack) to 400º(F)/200º(C)
Place the tomato, pancetta, oregano, garlic and oil in a baking pan, 
give ingredients a toss to coat with oil
Bake for 25 minutes*
Add chicken and olives to the dish, nestling them among the other ingredients, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper
Bake for 20 minutes* or until the chicken is tender
Plate up and top with basil and parmesan cheese.

My Notes:

The first time I made this I followed the original recipe which called for "cherry tomatoes", and I also added a few Roma tomatoes (halved) because I was short on the amount of cherry toms called for. (Unfortunately, the cherry tomatoes disintegrated and stuck to the bottom of the pan, and the Romas saved the dish.) 

After watching Donna Hay's video (the originator of this recipe) I realized what are considered "cherry tomatoes" in some countries are a bit larger than what we in the U.S. call cherry tomatoes. So the next time I made the recipe I used tomatoes that were just about golf ball size (halved them) and proceeded with the recipe, except that I reduced the initial roasting time to about 12 to 15 minutes (your oven may be different, so keep an eye on things) ~ the pancetta/bacon should be getting crispy and the tomatoes should be roasting, giving up their juices, and shriveling.)  Then I added the chicken and olives and continued baking for an additional 20-25 minutes until the chicken was tender.

The size/surface area of your baking pan will also make a difference in the cooking time required ~ larger pan = more surface area = less time in the oven. If your pan is crowded, you may need to add a few minutes cooking time for borth initial roasting, and a few minutes extra cooking time after you add the chicken. Just look for the tomatoes to be partially roasted and shrunken,  and pancetta/bacon beginning to cook.

I didn't have slab bacon or flat pancetta on hand so I used salt pork instead, it worked out wonderfully ~ Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay. 
Thank you Donna Hay for another GREAT recipe!

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