This is one of our favourite family dinners – a dish that everyone finds appealing and that can easily be adapted for seasonal changes and whims. Shown in the photo above is how this meal usually finds it’s way to our table – with the olive oil, Vino Cotto, garlic and juice from tomatoes coming together to form a wonderful, light sauce to spoon over the top. I mostly serve this dish with rice in our home, though the chicken could just as easily be sliced up, then tossed back through the juices before serving over pasta. The flavours are all certainly Italian, though it’s a dish, somewhat without technique, that involves simply throwing everything into a baking dish and watching it transform. Perfect!
Oven-Baked Italian Chicken | Gather and Graze
- 4 Free-Range Chicken Thigh Fillets
- 2 Cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
- A Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
- A Good Drizzle of Olive Oil
- A Decent Slurp of Vino Cotto (or Balsamic Vinegar)
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Large Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
- Handful of Kalamata Olives
- Italian Parsley & Basil (Roughly chopped or Torn)
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Place the chicken fillets into a large oven-proof baking dish and season both sides with a good grinding of sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter the chopped garlic, thyme leaves and cherry tomatoes over the chicken. Use hands to ensure the chicken and tomatoes are lightly coated all over. Slurp some Vino Cotto over the top and then place into the oven to bake for about 40-45 minutes (adding the olives for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking).
At about the 30 minute mark, when I add the olives, I often turn the thigh fillets over to brown a little better on both sides.
To finish, scatter the top with parsley and basil and allow the chicken to rest for approximately 10 minutes before serving. Perfect accompanied by rice, pasta or some crusty Italian bread, with the juices spooned over the top.
For tips on cooking the perfect, gently fragrant rice for this dish, please follow this link.
Notes on Cooking:
- Free-Range Chicken breasts can be used, though I find the thigh fillets to be much more flavourful and tender. The cooking time will not be quite so long if you choose to use breasts.
- Other vegetables also work really well added to this dish. The likes of zucchini (courgette), capsicum (red pepper), green beans, small wedges of onion to name a few.
- Please check the chicken pieces before serving, to ensure they are fully cooked.