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A roast chicken fills the belly and warms the soul.
Whether or not the weather agrees, fall has arrived. With it comes the urge to cook things that warm up the house and make it smell like home. Roast chicken tops my list of warm, roasty dinners.
But a whole roast chicken doesn’t seem practical if you’re just cooking for two. So we came up with the solution: Chicken Provencal for Two. By using bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, you can keep the portions scaled back. And by adding a whole lot of herbs and veggies, you ensure that no one will miss a thing – not the taste of a warm roasted chicken, nor the delicious smell that permeates the kitchen.
We made our Chicken Provencal with a generous sprinkle of herbes de Provence, because nothing rivals the scent or the flavor of thyme, fennel seed, rosemary, lavender…and whatever other herbs and spices find their way to the mix. And we surrounded the chicken with lemon, shallots, whole garlic cloves, green olives and sundried tomatoes. You might prefer kalamata olives, or niçoise olives, or no olives at all. You might want to use plum tomatoes, quartered, in place of the sundried ones, or, again, you might leave the tomatoes out altogether. What I’m saying is that you can tweak this recipe to fit your taste. With the herbs and lemon, it’s going to taste and smell heavenly. Like fall is in the air.
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ lemon, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
4 shallots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
½ cup green olives
½ cup julienned sundried tomatoes packed in oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence.
Pour the olive oil into an iron skillet. Place the seasoned chicken in the skillet, and surround it with the lemon, shallots, garlic cloves, olives and sundried tomatoes. Nestle the thyme sprigs into the vegetables. Pour the chicken broth around the chicken and onto the vegetables. Roast for 30 minutes. Baste the chicken with the pan juices, and roast for another 10 minutes. Serve with the vegetables and the pan juices.