This is the perfect recipe for a weeknight when you want something comforting and substantial but you don’t want to roast a whole chicken. Pound for pound a whole chicken is cheaper than buying chicken breasts but if you find a good sale or a store special you can walk away with a great deal. I made this a lot when we lived in our one bedroom apartment because our oven was about two-thirds the size of a regular oven and none of my roasting pans large enough for a whole chicken fit inside. This is also a great company dish because chicken is generally a crowd-pleaser (except for vegans and vegetarians, of course). Most of the kids I know will happily eat chicken.
I learned how to cook full chicken breasts from Martha Stewart although as usual I make my own deviations. She calls for using whole thyme stalks but since rosemary is available for free in our garden, I always use that. (We eat a lot of rosemary in this house.) I used to grow a variety of thyme called Golden Lemon Thyme and that would taste excellent with chicken. I couldn’t find whole breasts when I went to the market so I used two half-breasts.
Any leftover chicken can be tossed in some broth with noodles for a quick soup (especially good in Bohemian Ramen) or added to enchiladas or a quesadilla. I used the roast garlic as a topping for mashed potatoes but the uses are limitless: add to soups, eat on toast, or mix in pasta. If you’ve never had roasted garlic before you might be surprised at how good it is. All that time in the oven takes away garlic’s bite while mellowing and intensifying the flavor as it caramelizes. A little squeeze is all it takes to free it from its paper-like peel and it can be enjoyed mashed or whole. It’s a perfect condiment.
This is a great dish to serve alongside baked potatoes but they cook in about the same time and at the same temperature as the chicken. I made mashed potatoes because I had a craving (probably not pregnancy-related, I always want mashed potatoes this time of year!) and served it with sauteed spinach which takes no time at all on the stove. Dinner in an hour isn’t the snappiest of foods, but considering you are doing nothing for the majority of it perhaps aside from checking email or visiting with friends, it’s a friendly dish for a tired cook.
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken half breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
– Slice the tops off the garlic and place them cut side down in the roasting tray. Nestle a sprig of rosemary between them.
– Place your chicken breasts, skin side up, on top of the garlic heads and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the bottom halves of the garlic next to the chicken, cut side up.
– Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken breasts and thoroughly over the top and insides the cloves of garlic.
– Roast for thirty minutes. When the timer goes off turn the garlic cloves so the cut sides are now resting on the pan and rotate the pan.
– Return to the oven and keep roasting for about another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of your chicken breast is 165 degrees or until juices run clear and meat is fully opaque all the way through.
– Let the chicken rest at least ten minutes before carving and then pour all pan juices over top. At this point you can mash the roast garlic or keep it whole–both are delicious.