Let the week of quick and easy recipes continue! Today’s recipe – Smothered Chicken from the June 2005 issue of Everyday Food – is ready in 30 minutes (with only 15 minutes of hands-on time), requires only 1 cooking dish, and is deeee-lish. Who knew such amazing roasted garlic sauce could come from a microwave?
I started by cutting 1 large onion into a 1/2-inch dice and 1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed) into 1/2-inch chunks. In a 2-quart microwave-safe dish, I tossed the onion with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and placed a whole, unpeeled head of garlic in the center. I covered the dish with its lid and microwaved it on high for 5 minutes. I stirred the bell pepper and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste into the onion.
Next, I rubbed 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves with 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. (This is the total amount of seasoning, not per breast.) I placed the chicken on top of the vegetables and around the garlic, with the thickest part of the chicken breasts facing the edge of the dish. I re-covered the dish and microwaved it on high until the chicken was opaque, 10 minutes. I removed the chicken from the dish, put it on a plate, and covered it to keep it warm.
To make the garlic sauce, I sliced off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the cloves. (I would recommend using a paper towel or clean dish cloth to hold the clove while you slice – it was hot!) Starting at the base of the bulb, I squeezed the cloves into a small bowl and added 3 tablespoons of reduced-fat mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. I mashed the mixture with a spoon, stirred it into the vegetable mixture, and then served the chicken over the vegetables.
The flavor combination of this dish is terrific, truly, and the chicken was tender and juicy. I served this with a scoop of rice to help soak up that fantastic garlic sauce. If I hadn’t made it myself, I’d have a hard time believing this dish came out of the microwave!
TIPS: It seems like every time I make a dish with tomato paste, I end up wasting most of the can. This time, I took a tip from Everyday Food and spooned individual tablespoonfuls into an ice cube tray. Once the tomato paste had frozen, I transferred the “cubes” to a freezer bag. They’ll keep for 6 months, and it’s nice to know I have the ingredient ready and waiting for my next dish.
Recipe link: Smothered Chicken