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Roasted Chicken and Tomatoes

If you are tired of eating raw tomatoes (though how could you be when they are so ripe and delicious right now) or just looking for a bit of variety this slow roasted chicken and tomatoes will make your house smell amazing and taste just as good. It requires a tiny bit of prep and then takes care of itself in the oven for about an hour while you do other things. You can buy a spatchcocked chicken or do it yourself fairly easily (cut the neck bone out with kitchen shears and flatten…just google it : ). The melted tomatoes and sauce that are created while roasting become a delicious dressing for a warm panzanella salad to serve alongside your roasted chicken. It’s an incredible meal good enough for company and simple enough for a weeknight.

What you need:

For the Chicken and Marinade:

1 whole chicken, flattened and neck bone removed (pick a good one…heritage or slow growing breeds taste better, organic and/or locally grown is a bonus : )

1/2 cup of good quality olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 sweet yellow onion (this time of year I always go with Vidalia onions)

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 lemon

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried parsley

salt and pepper

2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes

2 tbsp butter

For the salad:

1 cup bread cubes (we used and recommend focaccia, sliced into one inch cubes)

2 cups arugula

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

1 tbsp balsamic glaze or reduced balsamic vinegar

I used a large pyrex baking dish to marinade the chicken for about 2 hours. Chop your onion and garlic into fine pieces and stir to combine with olive oil, dijon, herbs, lemon juice, and lemon zest. (Take the zest off the lemon before your juice it). Gently lift the chicken skin and spoon some of the marinade underneath the skin and on all sides. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

When its time to cook, pull the chicken out of the fridge while you preheat the oven to 325. In a roasting dish smear 2 tbsp butter all over the bottom of the dish and pour a few spoonfuls of the olive oil from the marinade on the bottom. Place the chicken breast side up (as pictured above) in the center of the pan. Pour your tomatoes around the chicken and drizzle the rest of the marinade on the top. Sprinkle a touch of salt and pepper on everything. Place in the oven for about an hour or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160. I use a probe that is connected to my oven to gauge the temperature and it alerts me as soon as its finished…I think it was about an hour.

Spread your bread cubes on a baking pan and place in the oven next to your chicken when its reached a temperature of 160. It should be positioned on the middle rack. Now set your oven to broil, leave the chicken in. Broil for about 3-4 minutes so the skin on the chicken gets brown and crispy, it will finish cooking (should be 165 per FDA) and the tomatoes will blister nicely. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile your bread crumbs will get nice and toasty. When you are satisfied pull the chicken and bread out of the oven and let rest for a few.

With a set of tongs or a spatula remove the chicken to a cutting board. Add your arugula to a salad bowl and rip the basil into smaller bites and add to the bowl. Spoon out all of your tomatoes from the roasting pan and add them to the salad bowl (don’t use a slotted spoon, you want the dressing to come along with them). Toss in your toasted bread cubes, shave some Parmesan cheese on top, and sprinkle a touch of salt and pepper if needed. Stir to combine, add a bit more dressing if you need to soften the bread cubes. They should absorb the sauce but not fall apart. I always have balsamic glaze on hand, its really good during tomato season to drizzle on top of salads, sandwiches, bruschetta etc so I added a touch to the top of the salad. Serve with your extra juicy delicious chicken and enjoy!

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