One of my top bucket list items is to get to travel outside the U.S. This dish made me feel like I was dining on a hillside vineyard on a cool Mediterranean evening…I could smell the wine, I swear! The earthy flavors of the chicken, potatoes, asparagus, onions and olives are brightened up nicely by the peppers and lemons. I’ve never had anything like this, but I’m glad I decided to try it out. By now you know I also love beautiful food too, and this may be the prettiest dish I’ve ever made. ~Robin
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
¼ c. of lemon juice (about 1 lemon) (will need 1 or 2 more lemons—see below)
3 T. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. dried oregano
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 bunch of fresh asparagus
1 red onion, cut into wedges or sliced (I prefer wedges)
1 red bell pepper, seeded & sliced
8 baby potatoes, cut into halves
1-2 T. red pepper flakes (optional, depending on spice preference)
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (could use green olives too if don’t have Kalamatas handy – this is a lot of olive but I’m a big fan; could use less if desired)
Instructions to marinate:
In a shallow dish, combine lemon juice, 2 T. of olive oil, 2 tsp. red wine vinegar, basil, garlic, oregano, salt, garlic salt, and parsley. Set aside half of marinade, and add chicken to the rest. Coat chicken evenly and then marinate for just 15 minutes (can do up to 30 minutes if you like, turning chicken midway through if so).
Instructions when ready to cook:
Wash and trim the ends from your asparagus spears. Wash & cut baby potatoes in half. Wash, peel, and cut red onion into wedges. Wash, seed, and slice red bell pepper. Drain well and measure out ½ c. Kalamata olive slices. Set vegetables aside.
When ready to cook chicken, preheat the oven to 430°F. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in large, oven-safe skillet or pan to medium-high heat (I love my 12.5” Swiss Diamond pan — thanks Mom & Dad! — but cast iron or other high heat tolerant dish would be great here too). Sear chicken until it browns up a bit (but note that skinless chicken won’t brown much – just give it a few minutes to start looking cooked on the exterior) to seal in moisture and begin cooking, just about 4 minutes per side. Drain and discard excess fat.
Before adding vegetables, be sure that your boneless thighs are positioned so that the “open” side is facing downward – you’ll be able to tell which side they opened to remove the bones. It won’t hurt anything, but it’s just not as pretty as the side that’s still intact. And with everything else here being so gorgeous, you’ll want the visual to be consistent.
Place the vegetables except the olives wherever you can cram them (pan will be full) around the chicken, distributing each evenly. Then carefully sprinkle olives across the dish, as they’re a bit more delicate and shouldn’t be too jostled. Spoon remaining marinade over veggies.
Cover (foil or a lid either one—I used foil) and cook at 430°F for about 35 minutes — until chicken is 165° throughout. Carefully remove cover and broil on medium for 5 or 10 minutes, until veggies/chicken brown a little (remembering that skinless chicken won’t brown as much as thighs with skin would).
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes (optional).
Add cross-section lemon slices to the skillet about ¼ inch thick as a fresh garnish (adds to the lemon flavor as well, of course).
Weight Watcher’s Info.: Each chicken thigh, plus ¼ of the vegetables (which makes quite a heap as you see in the skillet photo) is only 8 SmartPoints.