I don’t know how you are coping with this pandemic, but given our ages, we’re sheltering in place, trying to stay calm and carry on. To this end, preparing comfort food has helped a lot.
A case in point. Last night, after a hectic day trying to set up a work-from-home connection, we were both not at our best. So with what we had on hand, I decided to make something easy and comforting: an improvised Chicken Parmigiana.
I used four bone-in skin-on thighs; a 14.5 ounce can of imported crushed tomatoes, and an 8-ounce fresh mozzarella (actually a burrata) that had been on sale and was close to its “best-by” date.
The chicken was delicious, far better than either of us had expected. In fact, I’ve never been a fan of “chicken parm.” The few times I’ve had it, never by choice, I’ve always found it soggy, over-breaded, and either over or under sauced. Therefore, I hadn’t planned on posting this recipe and didn’t take any photos until it was done, served, and savored.
Hope you’ll try this dish, or something like it, during your unplanned time at home. It helps. Be safe and stay healthy.
Improvised Chicken Parmigiana
4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 14 ½ ounce can imported crushed tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano, or to taste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, drained and divided into 4 slices
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Dry chicken with paper towels and season both sides well with salt and pepper.
3. Coast the bottom of a cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil (any heavy ovenproof skillet will do).
4. Add the tomatoes to the pan.
5. Stir in the oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
6. Place the seasoned chicken thighs on top of the sauce being careful to keep the skin dry.
7. Roast for about 40 to 45 minutes, until the skin is gold and crispy.
8. Using potholders, remove the skillet from oven and cover each thigh with a slice of mozzarella. Sprinkle the cheese with a little salt. Return to oven and let cook another 5 minutes.
9. Switch to broil and let the cheese melt even more. But keep an eye on it to avoid burning.
10. Using pot holders, remove skillet from the oven and transfer the chicken to warmed plates and spoon the sauce around the chicken. If there’s any melted cheese in the sauce, stir it in to distribute evenly.
Wine Pairing: Chianti