Super Easy Provençal Inspired Roast Chicken

One of my favorite chicken preparations is this Provençal-inspired roast chicken because it makes great use of four ingredients I almost always have on hand (chicken, tomatoes, olives, herbs) and really is such a simple, elegant and delicious dish that is just too easy not to make.

It's most commonly made in a stew-type preparation, but we really enjoy the taste and texture of the roasted veg alongside the chicken. And even though it's not super brothy, you do get a delicious pan sauce that's perfect for sopping with crusty bread.

You can make this with canned tomatoes if/when you can't get your hands on decent fresh ones, but, it's an extra special treat when you can make it with sweet, flavorful fresh ones like the kind I lucked into on clearance at the market over the weekend. The yellow grape tomatoes were specially delicious roasted.

Super Easy Provençal-Inspired Roast Chicken
Serves 4 to 6
Time: About 90 minutes total, 15 minutes active

This recipe is for 4 to 6. My photos are a scaled down version, You can easily halve this recipe to make less.

Taking your ingredients out of the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before cooking in order to bring them up in temperature will create less steam and result in a better roast, but it certainly won't be the end of dinner if you don't have time.

To keep it crowd-friendly for those with more finicky or less developed palates, you might like to stick with safer herbs like parsley and thyme.

- 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, patted dry
- 6 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into sixths if beefsteak shaped, quartered if Roma/plum shaped (I halve them vertically, cut out the little stem, and then cut the halves into equal halves or thirds.  If you're also using some or all grape tomatoes like I did, 8 to 10 of them equal one regular tomato - no need to cut them.)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into sixths
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 3/4 cup well drained olives (salty black ones or Kalamata types are typical, but I use whatever's on hand)
- 1 lemon, half cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, the other half juiced
- 2 to 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt (depending on how salty your olives and how salty you like your food)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or basil
- optional: up to 2 teaspoons dried herbes de provence (or any combination of the herbs that go into it, if you don't have the specific blend: basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, fennel, lavender, savory)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil

1) Preheat the oven to 425F.

2) Place all ingredients in a large roasting pan or baking dish, except for the lemon slices, finishing by sprinkling the salt, pepper and herbs as evenly as reasonably possible over the entire area. (This reduces the amount of tossing/jostling of ingredients needed to evenly distribute the seasoning.)

3) Get in there with your hands and gently toss all the ingredients together to evenly distribute the seasoning.

4) Pull the chicken pieces and distribute them evenly atop the vegetables, skin side up. Distribute the lemon slices atop a few of the chicken pieces.

5) Roast the chicken in the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, then move to the next rack up to encourage browning on the skin for another 45 minutes.

And that's it!

I like to serve it with slices of crusty bread on the side for a super easy and complete meal, and the soft, sweet roasted garlic is specially delicious when paired with a little butter on that bread. 

And in warm weather like we've been having, we find a chilled Sauv Blanc or Pinot Gris/Grigio is a perfect way to wash it down.

Bon appétit! :)


P.S. Leftover roasted veg (if any) is great with pasta or in an omelette.



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