This recipe for Oven Poached Chicken with Roasted Veggies is an easy oven recipe that is both delicious and low-fat. It also keeps the kitchen splatter-free
The making of Oven Poached Chicken with Roasted Veggies
When I first started thinking about this recipe for Oven Poached Chicken with Roasted Veggies, it was just a thought for one-pot chicken and vegetables.
A lazy Sunday afternoon, doing a few errands and contemplating dinner. NYC was the week before, we got home on Saturday, Sunday was the first day of Daylight Savings Time (why do we do this???) and I was in a bit of a time flux. I really wanted nothing more than to kick back, cuddle on the couch and, well, relax.
But we need to eat and I didn't want to go out.
And I didn't want to dirty the kitchen.
We also had eaten big in NYC so I wanted to eat "lighter".
As a part of our errands, we stopped by one of our local favorites Andy's Produce in Sebastopol to pick up a few things, including some beautiful local broccoli, fennel, and delicata squash. As we were driving home I thought, how about if we just put some chicken breast on top of some cut-up veggies, pour a little liquid over, and stick it in the oven for dinner?
A one-pot meal. Less mess. Little work.
"Sounds OK to me," said BB.
But as I often do, I had afterthoughts.
That sounds kind of boring. Like boiled veggies with flavorless chicken. Sure, it meets the criteria for an easy dinner, but where's the flavor?
Roasted veggies. That sounds better.
But dry roasted boneless skinless chicken breast is, dry.
So I decided to make them in two separate pans, with two different cooking styles. Even in my tired state, I could do two pans. And if you put the veggies on aluminum foil that you just have to toss, you are back to a one-pan meal.
A boneless skinless chicken breast can be super lean, and super boring. They need added flavor.
I happened to have the last of my ripe garden tomatoes, so I used those, along with herbs de Provence, white wine, chicken stock, and whole garlic cloves (more on those later).
I generally say, if you don't have fresh garden tomatoes or summer tomatoes from the farmer's market, don't use fresh tomatoes. But for this preparation, Roma tomatoes will work.
I made the mistake of not pounding the breast to a fairly uniform thickness, so my thick parts needed more cooking than my thin parts. This just added some time to the cooking and made it necessary for me to remove my vegetables mid-bake to allow the chicken to catch up.
We do not serve rare chicken.
Once the chicken was mostly cooked, I put the veggies back into the oven to finish.
No harm, no foul.
Best Way to Pound out Chicken Breasts
But I do recommend that you pound the breasts beforehand when possible. The easiest way I have found to do this is by using a zip-top bag. The gallon size will easily hold two to three breasts at a time, and the bag is thicker than plastic wrap and does NOT tear or move off the meat you are pounding.
So use a zip-top bag, lightly pound using the flat side of your meat mallet or even a small heavy-bottomed skillet, and gently pound the thick part to be more even with the thin part. This way, it all cooks at the same rate.
Fennel - I love roasted fennel. It's such a wonderful mild vegetable when roasted. To find out more, read my article on how to prepare and use fennel.
Delicata Squash - I have become a huge fan of this "delicate" squash. While I love all squashes, many are a PITA to work with. Butternut is difficult to peel, Acorn is almost impossible to peel, and well, the list goes on. Delicata can just be easily halved, scooped, and sliced, diced, or whatever. No peeling required. So just wash, cut, scoop, slice, done.
Sweet Potato - Sweet potato is a quick roaster when cut into bite-sized pieces. Considered one of "the healthiest foods" sweet potatoes provide massive amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin C, B's, along with potassium.
Red Onion - I love roasted onion and chose red for its slightly sweeter flavor but you could use any onion. Yellow onions are fairly sweet, white onions, slightly more acidic, you could even use pearl onions. If you decide to use pearl onions, just cut them in half.
Whole Garlic Cloves - While I've always loved the flavor garlic adds to a dish, I never really realized what a little powerhouse this tiny clove packs. Known to protect you against a multitude of ills including, but not limited to, lowering cholesterol, acts as an anti-inflammatory, helps fight cancer, and regulates your metabolism.
Wow, go garlic!
This recipe uses a large amount of garlic in two ways. One is in the poaching liquid to help flavor the chicken, the other is roasted, which in and of itself, is delicious. When using large amounts of garlic, I usually like to buy it pre-peeled, just the cloves. Or you can try the "put the whole head between two large bowls, close, and ...shake shake shake ... until you have effectively removed the thin membrane...
Add a little drizzle of oil, and you've now added another element of healthiness. Our bodies like to have a bit of fat to help absorb all the healthy benefits of the food we eat.
So just a drizzle, enough to coat, not to drown.
Pop the chicken and veggies into a preheated 425º oven, and in about 30 minutes dinner is ready.
I finished this dish with a sauce made from the juice of the chicken, wine, and stock. Mixing a bit of cornstarch with water, often called a 'slurry', I added a touch of cream, for creaminess. Simmered on the stove for a few minutes until thickened I then spooned it over the chicken and veggies, combining the poached garlic, and roasted garlic was delish.
Oven Poached Chicken with Roasted Veggies was extremely quick, healthy, and easy to clean up after dinner.
Oven Poached Chicken with Roasted Veggies
Wine Recommendation(s): You could actually serve this recipe with a wide variety of wines, including light reds or bold whites. Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, are all fine choices.
Oven Poached Chicken with Roasted Veggies
- For the Chicken
- 4 4 - 5 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence *
- 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
- ¼ cup whole garlic cloves about 12
- ½ cup white wine or white vermouth see below if not using wine
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock or 1 cup if not using the wine
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons approx. chopped fennel fronds
- For the Roasted Veggies
- 1 head fennel cut into quarters, cored, then cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 - 2 delicata squash depending on size cut in half, seeded, then cut into slices
- 1 - 2 sweet potatoes depending on size peeled, cut into quarters, then cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 red onion cut into quarters, then into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup approx. whole garlic cloves
- 1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon or to taste, herb de Provence
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Place the oven racks in the top third and middle of the oven.
- Put the chicken breasts into a gallon zip-top bag and lightly pound to achieve a uniform thickness. Season with the salt and pepper; sprinkle with herbs de Provence. Place in a baking dish just large enough to hold them closely, then top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle the garlic cloves about the pan, then pour the wine (if using) and chicken stock around the breast (the liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the chicken but not cover them). Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the tomatoes; cover with foil.
- Place the prepared vegetables into a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the top, season with the herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper. Toss until all the veggies are coated with oil and herbs. Place onto a rimmed cookie sheet.
- Place the chicken in the top third of the oven and the veggies on the middle rack, cook 10 - 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil from the chicken and check the veggies. If the veggies are mostly cooked, remove them from the oven until the chicken is done, approximately 10 minutes more.
- Once the chicken is mostly done, return the veggies to the oven to finish cooking a heat through.
- Remove the chicken breast from the pan to warmed plates or wide bowls, divide the veggies evenly. Mix the cream with the cornstarch solution. Over low heat, stir the cream mixture into the juices in the pan until thickened. Spoon, along with the garlic cloves, over the chicken and roasted veggies. Serve.