Mediterranean Baked Chicken

Blame it on The Chew and their featuring of Donna’s Artichoke Chicken for making me obsessed with easy one pan baked chicken. They’re yummy, easy, low on dishes and warm, and this Mediterranean baked chicken is no exception. What more can you ask for?

I used chicken thighs because they’re much more forgiving. You can overcook them (slightly) and they’ll still be fairly juicy and tender. I opted to leave the chicken in the big pieces that came in the package; the only adjustment I did was to bake them for about 10-15 minutes. I also decided to up the amounts of all the marinade seasonings. I love those flavors, and I wanted them to contribute heavily to the flavor of the chicken. I ended up using 5 garlic cloves, 4 T artichoke juice and 2 T dried oregano (the original recipe called for fresh, but I subbed in dried).

If you know me, you understand my intolerance of doing the dishes. More time spent doing dishes means less time eating and doing nothing. That’s a high opportunity cost for me. Therefore, one-pot cooking and one-pan baking are my besties. In keeping with that, I chose to brown the chicken in the roasting pan over the stove. I removed the chicken, then proceeded to roast the veggies in that pan. It’s not as cooking time efficient, sure, but it allows you to keep all that gorgeous chicken fond and drippings. Which, besides minimizing dishes time, maximizes yumminess.

It’s (the end of) winter, in case you didn’t know. Actually, if you’re in California, chances are that it feels quite like fall. But it’s still not tomato season (boo hoo, I miss those scrumptious ruby and sunset-hued heirlooms), so I decided to go with canned diced tomatoes. I added them after the onions were caramelized to my liking, since the moisture that the tomatoes introduce inhibits onion browning. I wanted to keep all the flavorful chicken marinade, so I added that with the tomatoes.

I didn’t have any canned white beans (I bet any bean would be fine- garbanzo, kidney, cannellini, etc.) and the idea of soaking and cooking dried ones didn’t appeal to me. I added some carrots and mushrooms instead. I started roasting them with the onions so that the carrots would have time to become tender and candy sweet, and the mushrooms could caramelize and soften. For the end, I omitted parsley to due personal preference and stirred in extra dried basil (it’s still winter) instead when I added the olives.

The resulting chicken was pretty bland and a shade under for my taste. This is probably due to the fact that chicken and I aren’t the best of friends. However, I loved all the veggies. The onions weren’t as rich as I wanted, but they still added a silky sweetness that went great with the earthy mushrooms, briny olives, bright artichokes and acidic tomatoes. The mozzarella didn’t melt, merely warmed after their addition. They were a nice surprise, and my mom especially liked them.

Next time, I’d try cracking eggs in wells in the veggies, like shakshuka or eggs in purgatory. I think they’d be splendid, particularly if one sprinkled freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano over the top. Mmm. I can imagine this eggified Meiditerranean baked chicken would be good over quinoa, buckwheat or rice for a hearty lunch, too.

Mediterranean Baked Chicken
adapted from The Clever CarrotMarinade
1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs (boneless & skinless), cut into 1 1/2 inch strips
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 T artichoke marinade
2 T dried oregano

2 onions, thinly sliced
1 carton mushrooms, chopped (optional)
3 carrots, chopped (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
14 oz marinated artichoke hearts
14 oz white beans, drained & rinsed (optional)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 T dried basil or oregano or thyme
1 small tub marinated bocconcini, halved

  1. In a small bowl, mix artichoke juice, garlic and oregano. Drizzle with oil and mix well to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour, maximum 3 hours.
  2. In a large roasting pan, warm some oil over moderate heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, working in batches. Move the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the onions (and mushrooms and carrots, if using) to the pan. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425F (stirring occasionally) until the onions are caramelized, 30-40 minutes depending on how dark you want your onions. Add the tomatoes and chicken marinade; cook until tomatoes are thickened, 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken, artichokes, beans (if using), olives and herbs. Roast for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Remove from the oven. Add the bocconcini and toss to combine. Serve immediately with crusty bread and a green salad.

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