Chicken is a versatile food that can be prepared and cooked in various ways and is capable of being combined with a host of tasty ingredients. In fact, cooking and serving chicken with certain foods can pack a flavorful punch, turning an otherwise bland chicken breast into a dish families won’t soon forget. Such is the case with the following recipe for “Roasted Red Pepper, Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Topped Chicken” from Laurie McNamara’s “Simply Scratch: 120 Whole Homemade Recipes Made Easy” (Avery).
Ingredients: Serves four
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
1⁄2 cup My Grandma’s Greek Dressing (see below)
1⁄3 cup diced charred red bell pepper (see below)
1 tablespoon minced sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon brined capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3⁄4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken in a medium bowl or large resealable bag and pour the Greek dressing over the top. Marinate the chicken on the countertop for 20 minutes. (Any longer and the lemon juice will start to break down, or “cook,” the chicken.)
In a medium bowl, combine the bell pepper, tomatoes, capers, parsley, salt, black pepper and feta.
In a 12-inch cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let any excess marinade drip back into the bag. Place the chicken top-side down in the skillet and sear for 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and divide the pepper and feta mixture over the top. Slide the skillet into the oven. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Carefully transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for 5 to 6 minutes before serving.
My Grandma’s Greek Dressing
Ingredients: Makes 3/4 cup
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in your palm
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained of pulp and seeds
1⁄2 cup olive oil
Pass the garlic through a garlic press into a glass jar or resealable storage container. Add the oregano, salt and pepper. Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil.
Shake. Pour. Swoon.
Store the salad dressing in the refrigerator, but pull it out 10 to 15 minutes prior to using to warm up the solidified oil, or run the jar under warm tap water. Store in the refrigerator for three to four months.
Grill: Heat a grill to medium-high. Place a pepper (or peppers) on the grates, close the lid and let it char for 5 minutes. Rotate and repeat this process until all sides are charred. After 12 to 15 minutes, the skin should be black and blistered.
Gas stovetop: Using metal tongs, hold the pepper over a medium-high flame, rotating it to create an even char.
Oven: Preheat the broiler to high and crack the oven door. Place a washed pepper on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and slide it under the broiler, rotating it every few minutes until it is charred.
Almaden ‘Pinot Noir’
A sauvignon blanc or charadonnay would usually go best with chicken, but with the feta cheese topping, you want to go with something like a pinot noir. This wine from Almaden Winery is said to provide a “soft and elegant, bursting with fragrant fruit and spice character” according to the winery’s notes.