I should totally dedicate this recipe to my Mom. She’s definitely NOT a fan of chicken breasts; and if you take a look, you’ll notice there’s a big, glorious hunk of chicken breast right in the center of this roasted chicken dish. Her opinion? Chicken breasts are too dry and flavorless, end of discussion.
I would be inclined to agree with her, but that’s not really how my brain works. Sooo naturally I had to figure out a way to make chicken breasts that even she would enjoy. We live on opposite coasts, so the verdict is still out on whether this chicken stands up to her “juicy” standards, but I can say that a dry piece of chicken was nowhere to be found… but flavorful tenderness sure was!
Conquering this lean meat seems to simply be a matter of selection, treatment and preparation. So here’s a few recommendations before you get started.
Just a Few Things
First of all, if you’ve got a choice, roll with the bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Both do a great job at infusing the breasts with flavor, plus the skin helps keep it moist during roasting. You can always remove the skin and bones before serving.
Secondly, neeeever cut and slice chicken breasts open while they’re cooking, or directly after for that matter. Do it, and you can watch all that juicy tenderness you just worked so hard to create run right out of the chicken. The exception being the small hole(s) you’d make with a cooking thermometer to check for doneness; 165 degrees is the safe temp for chicken.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important, so here it goes. Carry-over cooking… it’s a thing. There’s no need to cook your chicken to death to make it safe to eat. Cook it to the safe temp and let the resting period do its thang. It’ll continue to cook to poultry perfection while resting IF you can resist the temptation to cut into it.
- Bigger isn’t always better
The size of the baking dish/skillet you use will matter here. In this case, the savory juices from the chicken will run down to the veggies, creating a bunch of tender, intensely flavored natural goodness. It’s not gonna work quite as well with a larger dish. I used a 12 inch enameled cast iron skillet to get the job done, but I wouldn’t use a dish any larger than the standard 9×13 baking dish.
Other than that, it’s a pretty easy recipe to pull off.
P.S. Clean eaters, don’t forget to take that skin off at the end. 😉
- 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (I used 1 large whole breast and 4 drumsticks)
- (1) 1 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 8 oz. brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
- (1/2) 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 5 large cloves garlic (3 thinly sliced, 2 minced)
- 4 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 4 tsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. plus 2½ tsp. grape seed oil
- 1 tsp. celery seeds
- 1 ¾ tsp. sea salt
- 1 ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Wash, dry, and prep the sweet potato, brussel sprouts, onion, minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of rosemary, and 2 teaspoons of oregano.
- Place prepped veggies in a large bowl, and combine with 2 tablespoons of oil, ¾ teaspoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Add (in a single layer) to a large baking dish, pan, or oven-proof skillet; set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of rosemary, 2 teaspoons of oregano, 2½ teaspoons of oil, celery seeds, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¾ teaspoons of pepper; set aside.
- Wash, dry, and prep chicken by adding some of the spice rub underneath the skin of all chicken pieces, followed by the sliced garlic. Use the remaining spice rub to cover the outside of the chicken.
- Place the prepped chicken directly on top of the veggies (*see quick tips). Bake in the center of the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165 degrees F (*see quick tips).
- Remove the dish from the oven. Place chicken on a separate plate, quickly remove garlic slices from under the skin (*see quick tips), cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.