Bandera, Texas is usually a very warm place; however, this time of the year the winds can pick up and it gets pretty chilly for a Texas town! After doing a morning’s chores, I decided I wanted something warm, flavorful, and filling but not necessarily fattening.
Today, I knew I had some really nice roma tomatoes from the store that I could not resist, a small package of goat cheese I picked up as a treat, and frozen chicken thawing in the fridge. I also had potatoes that needed to be used while they were still good, so I decided to make my Mediterranean chicken and roasted potatoes.
Both of these dishes are simply delicious, do well with one another or paired with other sides, and are really very easy to make. They bring color, flavor, and love to your table and will definitely reward you for all of your hard work outside!
Mediterranean chicken and roasted potatoes.
You will want to do the potatoes first because they cook in two segments at 40 minutes each.
- 6 medium sized baking potatoes, cut into wedges.
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin for its fruity flavor)
- 1/2 cup of water.
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice – fresh or bottled.
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced finely.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a pan large enough to hold all of your potatoes with a non-cook spray.
Take your washed and dried potatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Place the flat side down and cut into half twice and then again twice so that you have evenly-sized wedges. The closer in size the wedges are width-wise, the more uniformly they will cook.
In a separate container, mix the oil, lemon juice, oregano together. Add the garlic to the oil mixture and stir well.
Place the potatoes in a deep bowl and salt and pepper them. Toss them around a little to make sure the S&P gets on each of the potatoes. Then add the oil to the bowl.
Wash your hands thoroughly and then use your hands to mix the potatoes and oil. Yes, you will smell like garlic. If that bothers you, use vanilla extract in your hand-washing soap when you are done tossing the potatoes. If that does not bother you, you are like me. I love garlic, love the smell of it, and I don’t mind getting a sniff of it here and there as I’m cooking! The more the merrier!
Place the oiled potatoes into the baking pan and pour the water into the bottom of the pan. This is the secret to roasting potatoes without them becoming dry and sponge-like. (Don’t tell your friends – let them just imagine you’re a genius.)
Place the potatoes into the oven and set the timer to 40 minutes. At the end of 40 minutes, stir the potatoes around making sure to spoon the delicious garlic-infused oil/water over the potatoes. While the first 40 minutes is taking place, you can prep your ingredients for the chicken dish.
When your timer is up and your potatoes are turned and bathed, set the timer for another 40 minutes; use this time to actually cook the chicken dish. The total cook time will be 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- 3-4 chicken breasts, washed and then salted and peppered, cut into halves or thirds.
- 6 roma tomatoes – diced into pieces around 1/2″
- 1 tablespoon of capers, drained and rinsed
- I small can of black olives, sliced (or slice your own)
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice – fresh or otherwise
- half a small onion, sliced thinly
- Worchestershire sauce – 1 tablespoon
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- 2-3 pats of butter.
- Fresh goat cheese crumbles
I’m going to go on a cooking rant – I can just feel it bubbling up inside of me, so buckle up because here we go. Cast Iron. No, no, no – I know – they’re heavy, they’re confusing sometimes, they don’t have the ever beloved teflon non-stick that people are convinced they MUST have – but really…. if you can just try one nice big cast iron pan, I promise that you will hear angels sing, see fireworks, and ask it to marry you.
OK maybe I’m exaggerating a wee bit. But seriously – a well-seasoned cast iron pan will rock your world and your cooking and even clean up time! If you’re new to cast iron pans, I’ll post an article about how to choose, use, and enjoy them.
So – no matter what pan you choose (subliminal messaging: cast iron) you will want to heat the pan to medium/medium-hot. If you use stainless, I sometimes use a simple non-stick spray to help clean up. Once the pan is good and warm, add your oil and let it heat.
While the oil is heating, combine all of your other ingredients except for half of the onions and all of the lemon juice into a bowl and let them meet each other. Toss in your seasoning, give them a little stir so that they’re mingling and getting happy, then get ready to do more with your chicken.
Eat at least 2 olives and pretend that you’re doing quality control on the way. Don’t tell anyone you did it – deny it vehemently if anyone suspects anything!
Note, in this case I used green olives because we had a party and ate all of the black olives. Oops! I really cannot resist olives!
Gently nestle the seasoned chicken breasts into the olive oil. I really believe the care you give to the food you’re cooking and the fun you let yourself have comes out in the quality at the end. Enjoy the process! Listen to them sizzle as they hit the pan. Give them a little bit of a wiggle so that the oil gets under them and they stick a little less. Then let them be for a bit.
You want the one side of the chicken to sear a bit. You don’t want to micromanage the food, poking it, looking at it, moving it around; you’ll anger it and it’ll decide it wants to ruin your dinner party. Let it just rest until the one side is at least white (not pink), and preferably has a little color to it – just a bit.
If you’re impatient and you really just cannot resist doing something to it, show it some love by putting some more seasonings on the top side.
Once the chicken is ready on one side, go ahead and flip it over to give the other side some color.
At this point I added the reserved half of the onions to the skillet to start to pick up some color and caramelize a bit. To me, there are few flavors that really make a dish as interesting as caramelized onions. Cook until the chicken breasts are nearly cooked about 10 minutes.
Once the onions have picked up color and the chicken breasts have as well, dump the tomato mixture into the pan with the chicken. Stir the tomato mixture around the chicken gently so that the tomatoes and the chicken both have a chance to touch the bottom to continue cooking.
Breathe in deeply and enjoy the smells. Tangy, rich, bright, deep – they’re all there.
Turn down your heat to medium/medium-low so that you don’t cook this too quickly. The goal is to let the tomatoes cook down and lose their structure, but not to burn them or let them get too mushy.
Go in occasionally and use a spoon to lift up the cooked tomatoes, put them on the chicken, and let the still-uncooked tomatoes get their turn at the bottom of the pan.
Once about half of the tomatoes are cooked down, I turn the chicken over. Use a spoon to pick up the juices from the tomatoes and bathe the chicken pieces in them. Take your lemon juice and sprinkle over the top of the chicken pieces, season with a little more salt and pepper – just a little.
When all of the tomatoes are done and the chicken is complete, about 15 minutes, put 2-3 pats of butter into the sauce and stir it in to finish your sauce. Get your warm plates ready.
For this dish, I put the potatoes on the plate first. Then you serve the chicken beside it, or on top of the potatoes. That being said, I think serving them on the side is best because the roasted potatoes keep crisp and you can always drag them over to the tomato sauce to pick up some of the goodies. Yum!!
Sprinkle a tiny bit of fresh goat cheese crumbles on top of the chicken. Then be sure to eat some of the extra goat cheese because it is Just That Good!!
Just look at that.
This is a dish that is piquant, warm, so easy to cook, and very pretty with its reds and greens topping the beautiful golden chicken. Be sure to share it with friends and family.