Easy Dinner That Looks Impressive

So listen, I like things I can put in the oven and walk away from, come back and peek at, and then pour myself another glass of wine and go back out and mingle with my guests or what have you.

But I also want dinner to look impressive on the rare occasions we invite people in for dinner, so I tend to concoct things that look awesome, but really took me little effort and time at all. So, I introduce the series (is it too early for a series?): Easy Dinner That Looks Impressive.

Today, a chicken recipe that looks awesome, and bonus – you can keep most of the ingredients on hand all the time, and just pop out for tomatoes when you want to make it.

Chicken, Tomatoes and Garlic

1 roasting chicken, cut up, or 1 package of at least 8 chicken thighs, if you’re on a budget or don’t have a meat cleaver and some anger issues. Hell, you could probably use breasts, too. But not wings. That’s too much damned work to eat for something as pretty as this.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 bulbs of garlic, peeled and separated

1/4 cup white wine (use whatever you’re drinking or want to drink. My rule? Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink)

2 pints of washed cherry or grape tomatoes (Me, I like to mix ’em up. Get some gorgeous heirlooms in varied colors, and dinner just looks that much more impressive)

2 large lemons, cut into quarters

1 tsp of dried basil (but really, don’t be a putz. Buy the fresh, and make pretty ribbons of it, and sprinkle it around the chicken. But if you’re in a hurry, dried will do.)

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and use a roasting pan or large casserole pan. I like to give mine a swoosh of nonstick cooking spray, or rub a little olive oil on the bottom and sides, so the hubs doesn’t have to scrub so hard later (see? Thoughtful). Place the chicken thighs in the pan, and sprinkle salt and pepper on them. Put the garlic, olive oil, lemon, and tomatoes in a bowl, and give it a quick toss. Pour over the chicken. Pour half the wine over everything, and then place in the oven with foil over the dish.

About 1/2 hour later, pour the rest of the wine in. Cook for another 15 minutes, and then see if your chicken is bleeding. If not, it’s nearly ready to eat – take the foil off and give it another 5 minutes to brown up. If it is, stick it back in for a little longer, but go ahead and take the foil off. Use your own judgement, and muck about with your own oven. Mine is electric, and I’m not a fan, because it seems that it is always a bit of a guessing game toward the end of cooking anything.

After that, plate it up on a platter. It looks gorgeous, with the browned chicken and the tomatoes bursting open. I tend to chuck the lemon when I plate, as it kind of looks old and sad after a trip through the oven, and well, it has done its job. Serve this stuff with a nice pasta salad, green salad, and some warm, crusty bread, and it’s a phenomenal meal.

Theoretically, this could probably be done in a slow cooker, too. I haven’t tried. I should, because I got this awesome one recently with – get this – three inserts. I can actually make small dinners for two or giant meals. It’s already been nice for throwing together a spaghetti sauce in the morning before work, so all I have to do when I arrive home is boil pasta.


One Comment

  1. Okay, now I have slow cooker envy.

    I’m dying to try this chicken recipe, and am going to try it next Friday night!!! (I’m going to shop for happy looking after-they-are-cooked lemons…)


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