Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

It's no secret that my protein of choice for cooking is chicken, more specifically, chicken breasts, and as such, I am always on the lookout for a new and fresh way to prepare chicken for dinner. Unfortunately, it's easy to get in a rut of boring, boneless skinless chicken breast recipes, if you're not careful. This used to be a more common issue for me than it is now. The main reason for this is that I used to be reluctant to try any recipe that asked for anything other than boneless skinless chicken breasts. Oh my, was I missing out!

The use of skinless bone-in chicken breasts in this recipe is a big part of what makes it so delicious. All that time I spent avoiding recipes that kept the bone I was missing out on so much moisture and flavor! What a waste. The aroma of the fennel and lemon as the meal roasts in the oven is inviting and only makes you want to rush the cooking process. Don't fall into this temptation! It is well worth the wait when you taste the tenderness that is a result of the longer time in the oven.

Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

6 roma tomatoes
3 medium zucchini
1 bulb fennel
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Begin by cutting the tomatoes into quarters lengthwise and removing the seeds. Place in a large baking dish and set aside.
Trim the edges of the zucchini, cut in half crosswise and cut each half into half lengthwise resulting in quarters all roughly the same size. Add to the tomatoes.
Remove the outer layer from the fennel bulb and discard.
Cut off the long stems, leaving only a small amount and discard. Cut the remaining fennel bulb into 8 wedges so that each one is held together by a piece of the remaining stem. Add to the tomatoes and zucchini.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the vegetables. Toss to coat.
Place the chicken breasts, skin removed, on top of the vegetables.
Mince the shallot and place in a small bowl.
Add the lemon zest,
lemon juice,
remaining tablespoon of olive oil,
and salt and pepper.
Stir together to combine.
Rub the mixture into the chicken breasts.
Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove and stir the vegetables and return to the oven for 30 more minutes. When done, the chicken should be browned and the veggies tender.
Source: Adapted from Ellie Krieger

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