This is the way you might find chicken prepared in a Portuguese kitchen. I found it surprising how much oregano is used in their cooking. I knew that cilantro and bay leaves were used frequently, but why not? It makes for some tasty dishes. I used four good-sized chicken breasts, because we’re going to have us some leftovers…yes, sir! This could absolutely be a mid-week meal, particularly if you prepared the onions, sliced garlic and peppers the night before, dumped them in a zippered storage bag and into the fridge to wait. You could even mix up the seasoning liquid and store the jar in the fridge. The dump one thing on top of the other, into the oven and in about 35-40 minutes, you have dinner. A really, really tasty dinner, too.
So here’s the deal—Combine the chile flakes, garlic, paprika, oregano, thyme, lemon juice, oil and honey in a small jar, then give it a good shaking up. You may use a bowl and stir to combine. If you’re making this tomorrow, just put the jar in the fridge, all ready and waiting. Snuggle the chicken pieces together in a roasting pan; I use a cast iron skillet. Pour the seasoning liquid evenly over the chicken pieces; turn to coat. Sprinkle with a good, big pinch of salt and some pepper. Lay the bay leaves evenly atop the chicken breasts; about one or two per breast depending on the sizes of both. Combine the onion, peppers, sliced garlic and potato pieces. I use my hands and just toss them together on the cutting board. You can do this the day before, if you omit the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Drop them evenly around the chicken. Yeah, well I didn’t have enough room for “around”, so I put them over the chicken. Time will tell. You’ll also notice I didn’t add the potatoes this time. We’re having this with rice. Bake in oven, basting occasionally, for 35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. I let the pan set for 5 or 10 minutes, then just bring it right to the table. We’re having this with some sautéed gai lan or Chinese broccoli. It smells terrific!
Chicken with Peppers and Onions, Portuguese-Style
- 2 large chicken breasts, about 2 1/2 pounds
- 1/4 teaspoon piri piri or red pepper flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons ruby Port
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 bay leaves per breast
- 1 cup sliced and seeded baby bell peppers
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced into wedges, top-to-bottom
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes, washed, halved length-ways
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Sautéed greens, to serve
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place the chicken in a roasting pan or oven-proof baking dish. A skillet works well (see NOTE). Combine the chile flakes, garlic, paprika, oregano, thyme, lemon juice, oil and honey in a small jar or bowl; shake or stir to combine. Pour evenly over the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Season with a large pinch of salt and some pepper. Lay the bay leaves evenly atop the chicken breasts.
Combine the onion, peppers and potato pieces; toss them together. Season with salt and pepper. Drop them evenly around the chicken. Bake in oven, basting occasionally, for 35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Transfer to a serving platter or bring the baking dish to the table. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and sautéed greens, if desired.
NOTE: I preheat to 400°F, if I’m using a cast iron skillet, as it takes it longer to heat up.
Chicken with Peppers and Onions, Portuguese-Style Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.