Week in a Day TRB’s Way: Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Tomatoes, Pancetta and Garlic

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As the days get busier and busier, I’m constantly devising strategies for home-cooked meals that don’t require tons of time in the kitchen. In fact, I often take a page out of my Mom’s playbook and prepare a menu for the week on Sunday. (And, she did this wayyyyy before there was Rachel Ray or “Week In a Day!”) Although I give Mom total credit for the concept, I *was* inspired to make this particular dish while watching Rachel’s show. 

Roasted chicken is often a great make ahead meal. Throw some potatoes into the mix and you have a hearty, flavorful one pot (or pan!) wonder. As I was watching Rachel make her Portuguese One Pot Chicken and Potatoes, I decided to deviate from my usual lemon, oregano and garlic repertoire and emulate her Portuguese-inspired flavors. 

Thing is, I didn’t have any chorizo on hand. Since I did have some pancetta in the fridge that needed to either be cooked or tossed, I opted to give the dish an Italian flair. I also skipped a lot of the herbs, sherry and the citrus zests. (I like to keep the flavors simple, yet bold). The single best thing about this recipe is dredging the chicken thighs in a mixture of flour and paprika and then braising them until they turn golden brown. It adds such a depth of flavor to the meat, it’s totally worth the extra step. The celery and pancetta give this recipe a slow-cooked quality reminiscent of a traditional Sunday dinner at Mom’s. 

All in all, I was super pleased with this quick improvisation. The best part? The pan is going to last me the entire week!

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Tomatoes, Pancetta and Garlic
(Serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. paprika
6-8 large Yukon potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for coating pans
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 package of cubed pancetta
1/4 cup white wine
1 small can diced tomatoes (no salt added)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a disposable lasagna pan with olive oil. Set aside. 

2. Dredge chicken thighs in flour and paprika mixture, taking care to cover all sides. In a pan, add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Braise chicken thighs until golden brown – about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and place in middle of prepared lasagna pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. In a bowl, combine potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Add garlic, celery and pancetta to pan in which chicken was braised and cook until celery is soft and pancetta browns. Deglaze the pan with white wine, taking care to scrape the “bits” from the bottom. Add diced tomatoes and potatoes. Cook for about 10 more minutes, or until mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chicken thighs in prepared pan.

4. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 60 minutes and uncovered for another 25-30 minutes, or until chicken browns and is completely cooked through and potatoes are soft. (This recipe can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator tightly covered with foil until ready to reheat).

Do you prepare your “Week in a Day”? Share your favorite make ahead meals and tips with us! Post a comment below.

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