This recipe is inexpensive, easy to make and delicious. Which means it hits the Casual Kitchen trifecta I look for in all of the recipes I feature here.
There are other variations of Chicken in Tomato Sauce elsewhere on the internet, but the version I bring to you today is stripped down to its barest essentials, with basic ingredients and just three easy steps. And it's perfect, in the way that only a simple homemade recipe can be. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Chicken In Tomato Sauce
3 Tablespoons olive oil
5-6 chicken thighs, skin on and bone-in
To taste: ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, kosher salt
3 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, slivered
3-4 cloves garlic, slivered
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
Fresh basil leaves, optional, for garnish
1) Season chicken generously with cayenne, black pepper and kosher salt. Heat the olive oil to medium-high in a large oven-proof skillet, and fry the chicken, skin side down, until crisp and golden, about 5-7 minutes. Flip over and fry for 3-4 more minutes, then remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
2) Add onion and garlic to skillet. Saute until tender and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes (preheat oven to 400F/200C in the meantime). Add diced tomatoes and oregano, deglaze the bottom of the skillet, combine well and bring to a boil.
3) Set the chicken thighs into the tomato mixture, placing them partially submerged and skin facing up. Place oven-proof skillet in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes at 400F/200C. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil leaves.
1) If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, don't worry. You can use a regular deep skillet to fry the chicken thighs and prepare the sauce. When it's time to put everything in the oven, simply transfer the tomato sauce into a casserole dish, place the chicken thighs in/on the sauce, and then bake uncovered according to the directions. Yes, you'll have an extra dish to wash, but that's better than seeing your favorite non-oven-proof skillet spontaneously combust in your oven.
2) Drumsticks. You could also consider using chicken drumsticks for this recipe, but I would not use chicken breast meat. This recipe functions best with a higher-fat dark meat.
3) Spice adjustments. Feel free to reduce the salt, add more cayenne pepper, or modify the spices in any way you see fit. But I'll be honest, this dish works as it is, modestly, without strong, over-the-top flavors. This is simple home cooking at its best.
4) Cost. Finally, and best of all, this dish costs just $1.25-$1.50 per serving, depending on how attractive a price you can manage to get on chicken thighs. Thanks to a gigantic sale on chicken thighs in our grocery store, our cost worked out to $5.36 for the entire recipe--a per-serving cost of just $1.07.
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