I went to pick my kids up from my friend Celine’s house the other day. I sat in her kitchen chatting while the kids got use to the idea that I was here to take them away from a fun time to probably doing something not-so-fun like homework, or, picking their clothes off the floor and putting them in the laundry basket where they belonged!
When the kids came inside Celine asked if they would like a little piece of chicken she had just made before we headed out? She gave them some sliced whole chicken breast (skin on, bone-in) on a little plate to share. Well, they practically killed each other for the last bite! I had to ask how she had prepared it?
She told me it was created from a desire not to waste a bottle of fancy organic tomato dressing she was given as a gift. She said she would never use it on a salad but hating to let it go to waste. Celine is a good cook and she also tries to prepare a meal each night for her family. She simply put the chicken into a deep glass dish and added about a half cup of the dressing, along with some dried herbs and garlic powder? The dressing had a bright, sharp flavor that melded beautifully with the chicken juices. Anything my kids love I am enthusiastic to try.
I called her yesterday and asked her to read the ingredients on the bottle. I figured since it was organic it would probably have pretty natural ingredients (no need for me to run out for Red Dye #5 or aspartame!). It had things like tomato paste, oil, Dijon mustard, sugar, vinegar; salad dressing stuff! I decided to recreate the dressing as best I could and add fresh herbs instead of dried and also throw in an onion and a couple of drumsticks (for the “dark meat” lovers – meaning me).
The dish turned out so well I was sorry I had not discovered this method before now! I recreated the dressing using all fresh ingredients and it turned into such a perfect sauce for the chicken. It was a delicious feast – thanks Celine for your clever use of a bottle of dressing!
You will need: 4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on, 4 chicken drumsticks, 1 large sweet onion, diced, 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped, 1 sweet red pepper (I used a “long” sweet pepper), 3 tbs of fresh sage, rosemary & oregano mix, very finely chopped (measure after you have chopped), 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbs honey, 1 1/2 tbs tomato puree, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup water.
1 – Make the dressing: Turn on broiler and put oven rack on second shelf from top. Rub olive oil on the red pepper and set on a baking tray under the broiler. Broil each side until the skin starts to char. Keep turning until all sides are charred. Remove to a brown paper or plastic bag for 5 minute (this loosens the skin from the flesh). Take out and peel off the skin, and remove seeds. Chop the pepper until it turns into a past-like consistency.
Preheat oven 375*
2 – In a medium bowl combine the oil, tomato puree, mustard, red pepper, honey, garlic, herbs, and water.
3 – In big saute pan or roasting pan lay the onions on the bottom and arrange the chicken pieces on top of it in an even layer. Season with a little coarse sea-salt. Pour the dressing over the chicken making sure to cover all the pieces. Place in middle of oven for 1 hour.
4 – Remove from oven and place the chicken pieces on a platter and tent with foil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the sauce in the pan making sure to scrap the bits clinging to the edge into the pan. If you want a thinner sauce add a little water to pan and heat on stove-top.
Serve chicken topped with sauce as is, or, with rice, pasta, or a crisp green salad.