Pesto Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken in our house, which I feel like it kind of the norm for most households.  Chicken is like the universal protein; most people like it, you can do about a million things to it, and it’s pretty affordable for any budget.

The problem is; it has almost zero flavor on it’s own, so you really have to infuse the meat and add flavor and sauces/gravy to get it absolutely succulent and delicious.  Since we make chicken, usually, at least once per week here, I’m always looking for new ways to impart flavor to make it even better.

Don’t get me wrong, we do love chicken here that’s served simply with lemon butter, but sometimes we want something bolder, and this Pesto Chicken definitely fits the bill.

This chicken is my spin on a recipe/EZ Meal I found at Wegmans (because I’m sure you’re all surprised given my immense love of Wegmans).  While their original recipe looked delicious on it’s own, I knew a couple of changes were going to need to be made for how we eat chicken here.

For one, we live in an apartment and don’t have a grill, so we had to improvise and roast the chicken in the oven.  So, while you don’t get the smokiness of the grill, you still get a really good flavor from searing it in a cast-iron pan then finishing it off in the oven.

Also, we’re not big chicken breast people (as the original recipe called for); we usually prefer thighs.  They have more flavor than the breasts and are usually juicier.  I also added some chicken stock to give a bit more sauce to the chicken, especially since it was being roasted in the oven.  We love when there is a good sauce to chicken that we can spoon over top as it’s being served.  I also played around with the ingredient amounts and added a couple of things that are sort of our pre-requisite’s for chicken.

The end result was a beautiful plate of chicken, that I served simply with roasted baby potatoes.  You could also easily serve this with pasta or quinoa.  It’s also perfect on it’s own, especially if you are trying to lower your carb-intake like I am.

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Did I also mention that this chicken is super easy and ready in under an hour? Because if I didn’t….it’s super easy and ready in well under an hour.

The first thing, always for me, when I roast chicken, is I want to get it seasoned and searing in a nice hot cast-iron pan with a little olive oil.  So, I seasoned it up with salt, pepper, a small sprinkle of seasoned salt (it adds that little extra something that regular salt doesn’t do for me), poultry seasoning, and cajun seasoning and then seared each side for about 4 minutes until each side was nicely browned.

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Once all sides seared, I pulled the chicken out and put it on a plate, so I could roast the peppers and onions.  I threw all the peppers and onions into the hot pan with garlic and let them soften for about 5 minutes.

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Then I added in the cocktail tomatoes and let them roast for about 3 more minutes; just until they were slightly bursting.  I also added about 1/2 cup of chicken stock to give a little more depth of flavor and to make a nice sauce at the bottom to keep the chicken moist during roasting.

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The chicken thighs were added back to the pot and I topped them each with a good tablespoon of basil pesto and a nice sprinkle of asiago cheese before putting them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (or until the thighs reached an internal temp of 165.)  Once they came out of the oven, I let it all rest for about five minutes and topped it off with parsley and a bit more cheese to add some freshness.

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The end result was super flavorful, moist, and delicious.  This is definitely going to be a new staple in our house.

Enjoy!

Pesto Chicken

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs bone-in
  • 1 Sweet Red Pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 Vidalia Onion thinly sliced
  • 4-6 cloves Fresh Garlic sliced
  • 1 package (1lb) Campari Cocktail Tomatoes quartered
  • 1/2 cup Chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup Basil Pesto
  • 4 oz Asiago Cheese
  • Fresh Parsley chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  

    Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. 

  2. Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, seasoned salt, poultry seasoning, and cajun seasoning.  Once the oil in the pan is hot, place the chicken skin side down and allow it to sear for about 4 minutes.  Then flip the chicken and allow the other side to sear for another 4 minutes.  Once all sides are browned, remove chicken from pan and reduce heat to medium. 

  3. Add another tsp of olive oil, if the pan seems dry.  Then add in peppers, onions, and garlic.  Allow the veggies to saute in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until they soften a bit.  

  4. Once the veggies are softened, add cocktail tomatoes and saute for about 3 minutes or until they look like they will burst.  Add in chicken stock to deglaze the pan and create a sauce at the bottom of the pan. 

  5. Add reserved chicken back to the skillet.  Spoon about a tablespoon of basil pesto on top of each thigh and then sprinkle the skillet with asiago cheese.  Place the skillet in the pre-heated oven and allow to roast for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, pull it out of the oven and allow it to rest for about five minutes.  Sprinkle the finished chicken with a little more asiago cheese and parsley for garnish and then serve! 

*Please note: This post is not sponsored.  All opinions are my own.  

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