Here is a nice, simple and easy meal, perfect for when you want comfort food without much trouble at all: chop a few vegetables, season them, put on a casserole, add chicken breasts on top, season with a delicious infusion of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice and bake the whole thing until all the flavors meld and your kitchen smell divine!!
Easy, right?! Yep, and this is how this dish turned out to be! Nothing fancy, or fussy, but as flavorful as could be.
My only change to this was that I used Leeks instead of the fennel asked for in the recipe, as I just cannot stand fennel in any form (bulb, seeds, anise... yuck, no, fennel is not for me!).
Boy could I be happier to have changed that. The mixture of leeks and soft tomatoes together with the seasonings in the broth was incredibly good! The zucchini was soft and tender and chicken was perfectly cooked.
I really enjoyed this dish since, as I mentioned before, it was comforting and done with minimum effort!
The lemon-garlic-oil mix added to the top of the chicken subtly infused the brothy yumminess that was created in the bottom of the dish, which perfumed the entire kitchen and enticed our taste buds even before the dish was done... humm, good!
Serve this with rice as it helps to soak all the flavorful juices from the seasoned vegetables, making for an incredibly easy and tasty meal that I am sure you and your family will enjoy!
Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
(Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave)
3 medium zucchini (½ pound each)
1 bulb fennel (I used 1 12 leeks)
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
Preheat oven 350F.
Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds. Trim the zucchini and cut it in half crosswise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise once if the piece is thin and twice if it is thicker, so that the pieces are relatively uniform.
Remove the outermost layer of the fennel bulb and discard. Cut the bulb in half so that each half retains part of the stem end. Cut each half into 8 thin wedges so each wedge is held together by a little piece of stem. (I skipped the fennel and added two leeks which I trimmed, washed and thinly sliced into half moons)
Put the vegetables into a large baking pan. Toss them with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Arrange the chicken pieces in the pan with the vegetables.
In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Rub the mixture into the chicken in the pan. Season with a few turns of pepper.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then give the vegetables a stir and add the rosemary. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes more until the chicken is done and the vegetable are tender and beginning to brown.
Yield: 4 servings