Since I began my new business, Grain Free Haven, I have spent a ton of time in the kitchen, but not so much on new stuff. I have been making large quantities of the reliable recipes we love, to share with all my new customers. In my continued effort to contribute to the healthy eating of my family, I share with you now ANOTHER chicken recipe. I swear it is different enough from this chicken recipe, and this one and this one and this one to warrant sharing…. Even with all the bulk baking for the business I still want to spend time in the kitchen making new stuff, so I am making a concerted effort to still come up with new stuff.
Much of what you need for it comes from your garden, or your neighbor’s garden, or even your local farmers’ market vendor gardens…in my case it came from my brother’s garden. The dish is full of summer and the sauce, which can be made in advance of baking the chicken, is addictive. I warned you.
2 pounds fresh tomatoes (or 2-14 1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
4 cups fresh, raw spinach
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
8 – 10 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
Salt and pepper, to season chicken
1 cup finely grated Parmesean cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (optional)
Roughly chop tomatoes and place in large sauce pan uncovered over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, basil, oregano and parsley. When mixture is bubbly reduce heat to medium and continue cooking uncovered for 30 – 45 minutes, until liquid from tomatoes is released and reduced by about half. Add the spinach, salt and pepper, stirring until the spinach wilts and mixes with the tomatoes. Let simmer for ten more minutes. Remove pan from heat. With an immersion blender (or carefully pour the hot stuff into a stand blender) purée the sauce until tomatoes, spinach and herbs are blended into a smooth sauce. Simmer for five more minutes to reheat sauce, then thoroughly stir in heavy whipping cream. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, then place them in large baking dish. Sprinkle half the Parmesean cheese over the chicken thighs. Pour tomato sauce over chicken, making sure it is covered and there is a layer on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and optional chopped herbs over chicken, followed by the rest of the Parmesean cheese. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Cheeses should begin to brown. Cover dish loosely with aluminum foil (to prevent cheese from getting too brown) and bake for 15 more minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. When serving gently lift the chicken out of the dish, trying not to disturb the sauce and cheese that has moulded on top of each thigh – as the dish cooked the tomato solids settled on top of the chicken with the cheeses and the juices ran down, so serving with the ‘topping’ intact makes for a pretty presentation.