This one’s been evolving …………… it started out as a recipe from Epicurious. When 370 reviewers on Epicurious give a recipe four stars you know it HAS to be good. And it was. The first time I made it we LOVED it; a delicious combination of ingredients and a simple prep, what more could you ask for?
Well, I’m so glad you asked that question because, guess what? ………………
…………….. It’s gotten even better, at least in our estimation. I’ve made this at least five times now, each time tweaking it just a bit, and now I have a fabulous, just fabulous, dinner for you!
You’re going to love it because it can all be made ahead and just popped into the oven at the last minute, making it a wonderful dish for guests or for a healthy, easy dinner after a long day of work (or play!).
I’ve made quite a few changes and, though we really enjoyed the original recipe, it’s actually evolved into one of our very favorite meals here at The Café. I tinkered around with the spices, cutting back on the smoked paprika and adding crushed (or ground) coriander, oregano and a bit of curry powder. I exchanged the crushed red pepper for a splash of Sriracha chili sauce and layered everything with slices of super thinly shaved fresh lemon.
|All set to pop into the oven.|
I love bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Though we don’t eat the skin (as it adds a lot of fat to a very lean protein), it keeps the chicken moist and tender as it bakes and adds a ton of delicious flavor. So for roasting, I aways purchase this type of chicken and stock my freezer when one of my local markets has a great sale. The thing I don’t like about them is that they’re so large and bulky and having to pull the meat off the bone makes for messier eating, not the greatest when serving guests.
Did you know that many butchers at your everyday grocery store will cut the meat off of the bone for you? At no charge? When I’m in a hurry, as is often my dilemma, I’ll take advantage of this service. However, whenever possible, I take my sharpest knife and do the job myself. It only takes minutes and the advantage here is that I get to throw the bones (still clinging with meat) in the freezer. When the urge strikes me, I’ve got the base for a delicious pot of soup! Check out this excellent video by Carolyn Sherlock for a super simple way to do this yourself.
|It can actually be made early in the day and stored in the fridge until ready to bake, so nice if you’ve had a busy day or have guests coming.|
Don’t worry though, you can just as well make this yummy dinner with the whole skin-on, bone-in breast, it just won’t be quite as pretty, but still makes a super delicious dinner!
|The finished product is as pretty as a picture, pretty enough to place right in the center of the table and let your guests serve themselves!|
The other changes I made were using cannellini beans instead of garbanzo beans. I love garbanzo beans, but Mr. Café (aka known as my husband, photographer, chief taste tester and cohort in crime) is not so fond of them, and they do tend to get a teeny bit tough as they roast. You could use either, but the cannellini beans took the whole thing up a notch for us.
One last change I made was the sauce. The original recipe called for adding some of the same spice mixture as used on the chicken to the Greek yogurt. I decided to keep it simple, cool and refreshing and added a smashed avocado, the juice of a lemon, a bit of sea salt and a splash of olive oil to my Greek yogurt. To us it’s just the crème de la crème for an already delightful dinner.
Oh, and make a little extra, because the leftovers are quite amazing piled into a pita! I love to warm a pocketless pita in a hot pan with a tiny bit of olive oil. I spread a bit of hummus down the center topped with a generous spoonful of the tomato mixture along with some of the chicken, thinly sliced. Shower it with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dollop of the avocado and Greek yogurt sauce ……………….. oh my! It’s the best lunch EVER!!
Mediterranean Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes & Cannellini Beans
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium lemon, very thinly sliced
4 chicken breast halves, boned, but with skin left on (You can use the whole breast with skin and bones, if desired.)
2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 pints cherry tomatoes. I like to use one pint of red and one of yellow or orange just to make it pretty
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
½ cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix first 9 ingredients in medium bowl.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Rub each chicken breast with about 2 teaspoons of the olive oil/spice mixture. Place in heated pan, skin side down and sauté for several minutes until skin is golden brown. Remove from pan and place in a large oven-safe dish.
3. In a large bowl, combine remaining oil mixture with the beans, tomatoes, lemon slices and 1/2 cup cilantro, stirring gently to coat. Add to dish with chicken, surrounding chicken, but not covering. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Serve with Greek yogurt sauce.
Directions for the Greek yogurt sauce:
1. Combine all ingredients. If preparing ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
A sweet Café reader who made this dish, was kind enough to snap a photo and send it to me. She also had some great suggestions for adapting the recipe. This is what Patty said;