The Ultimate Weeknight Chicken and Broccoli Dinner

March 19, 2014 | By | COMMENTS

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Every so often, a new friend will confess that they’ve been reading my blog and when I ask, “Did you make anything?” the response is often, “Well I work, so I barely have time to get dinner on the table.” I understand where they’re coming from, though I usually end the friendship at that point. To prevent that from happening again, I’d like to share with you now a dinner anyone can make right after work that is so winning and so wonderful, you’ll want to hug me once you learn it. I like it so much, it’s pretty much a staple now of my repertoire.

It’s as simple as this. Heat your oven to 425. Take two (or four, depending on your crowd) large chicken breasts–with the skin and bones still attached–season them with lots of salt and pepper and heat a large skillet with a big splash of olive oil inside. When the oil is almost smoking, lay the chicken breasts in skin side down. You should hear a loud sizzle.

Walk away. In a few minutes, with a pair of tongs, try to lift the chicken. If it won’t lift, that means the skin is still crisping; once the skin is deep, golden brown, turn the chicken breasts over and take the whole skillet and pop it in the oven. It’ll take about 40 minutes for the internal temperature of the chicken to reach 165 (use a thermometer to start checking after 30 minutes, though; nothing worse than overcooked chicken breast).

While that’s cooking, take two heads of broccoli, cut into florets, toss the florets on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper and some whole heads of garlic still in their skins (I do this so the garlic doesn’t burn) and pop on to the other shelf of your oven. (For reference, see The Best Broccoli of Your Life.) Roast until the broccoli is brown all over and cooked all the way through.

When everything’s done, take everything out of the oven. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board to rest for a bit. Your kitchen will look like this:

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(Note the oven mitt on the pan handle: that’s to remind me that it’s hot!)

Here’s how to bring this dinner together like a champ.

See these brown bits in the pan?

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They’re your best friends. They’re packed with chickeny flavor. So here’s how to use it: squeeze a lemon into the pan and add a big pat of butter.

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Turn up the heat and start whisking.

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What you’ve just made is the most wonderful lemony, buttery, chicken sauce. Scoop some broccoli on to your plates, put the chicken breasts next to it and pour this sauce on top.

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It’s a dinner for the ages and, if you ignore the butter and olive oil and chicken skin, relatively healthy too. I hope I’ve changed your life for the better. Now when you meet me, you can tell me you make this ALL the time and we’ll be friends for life.

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Categories: Adam's Personal Favorites, Recipes

  • Adrian Reynolds

    My childhood on a plate.

  • NancyRing

    A beauty of a meal and healthy!!!

  • NancyRing

    A beauty of a meal and healthy!!!

  • Deborah

    I had almost this exact dinner last night, only with pork shops, and I used red wine instead of lemon juice to deglaze the pan. Delish!

  • JG4th

    already had in my head to substitute a little white wine instead of the lemon..

  • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

    Yes! Although I need a piece of toast because my dinners aren’t complete without carbs.

  • MollyG

    Whenever I get stuck on what I’m going to make for dinner, your site is one of my go-to inspirations. You’ve done it again! I know what’s on the menu tonight. Thanks Adam :)

  • Gail

    Love this. Love you! Love your blog – keepin’ it real. (I’m serious about that, actually, I’m happy you haven’t gone all slick and fancy-pants on us. THIS is what I love your blog for!)

  • Gail

    Love this. Love you! Love your blog – keepin’ it real. (I’m serious about that, actually, I’m happy you haven’t gone all slick and fancy-pants on us. THIS is what I love your blog for!)

  • Jennifer Liang

    Heh. I drape a kitchen towel over my hot pan handles to keep me from grabbing them barehanded. Nice to see I’m not the only one who needs a visual reminder.

  • Jennifer Liang

    Heh. I drape a kitchen towel over my hot pan handles to keep me from grabbing them barehanded. Nice to see I’m not the only one who needs a visual reminder.

  • Jennifer Liang

    Heh. I drape a kitchen towel over my hot pan handles to keep me from grabbing them barehanded. Nice to see I’m not the only one who needs a visual reminder.

  • Jennifer Liang

    Heh. I drape a kitchen towel over my hot pan handles to keep me from grabbing them barehanded. Nice to see I’m not the only one who needs a visual reminder.

  • Anonymous

    Add a few sweet potatoe slices to the broccoli pan. Carbs and fiber.

  • mollydonatelle

    You just changed my life. Oven mitt on the pan handle: frickin’ genius! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve burned my palm in the middle of cooking.

  • Justdunnit

    This may be a stupid question – you roast whole HEADS of garlic with the broccoli? And do you leave the garlic in the skin at the end, or squeeze it out? Thanks for clarifying!

  • Justdunnit

    This may be a stupid question – you roast whole HEADS of garlic with the broccoli? And do you leave the garlic in the skin at the end, or squeeze it out? Thanks for clarifying!

  • Justdunnit

    This may be a stupid question – you roast whole HEADS of garlic with the broccoli? And do you leave the garlic in the skin at the end, or squeeze it out? Thanks for clarifying!

  • Justdunnit

    This may be a stupid question – you roast whole HEADS of garlic with the broccoli? And do you leave the garlic in the skin at the end, or squeeze it out? Thanks for clarifying!

  • Justdunnit

    This may be a stupid question – you roast whole HEADS of garlic with the broccoli? And do you leave the garlic in the skin at the end, or squeeze it out? Thanks for clarifying!

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Not whole heads, just cloves still in the skin. So buy a head of garlic, smash it with your fist, it’ll fall into pieces. Throw some of those whole cloves in with the broccoli and they’ll infuse the broccoli with some garlic flavor without burning (in the past, I’ve slivered garlic and it always turns black). Hope that helps!

  • liz in nola

    Or you can chop some garlic and throw it on the broccoli for the last five minutes in the oven…

  • liz in nola

    Or you can chop some garlic and throw it on the broccoli for the last five minutes in the oven…

  • Anonymous

    I’m from the East Coast. Where’s the starch?

  • Janice

    Your Best Broccoli Ever has been my go-to side since the day you posted it. Still a favorite!!

  • Anonymous

    I plan on making this tonight! For those of you who have expressed an interest in the carb part, I highly suggest checking out the Actifry machine. No, I don’t own stock and I don’t work for them. My sister gave it to me for Christmas. She is a gadget nut, and I thought it was just another waste of money and space, but I’m here to say that it is a revelation. Sweet potato fries on my menu.

  • KarenL

    Yummy! Two Q’s: 2) Do you have a link to a printable version of the recipe? 2) What’s in the mason jar?

  • Nora

    I make a version of this on the grill – less dishes that way. I love cooking vegetables in a grill basket, especially broccoli. It adds another level of flavor that you just can’t get in the oven.

  • Deborah Lorraine

    Or use both. Kind of like a picatta sauce.

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    Adam, one of the reasons I enjoy your blog is because it’s a real “reality show” — no holds, barred; tell it as it is; skip or change an item in a recipe; show us your messy stove-top — Martha Stewart, you aint!

    Anyway, your offering is perfect. I have to prod my wife to go for broccoli, but she’ll like it this way.

    I’m thinking that you should tackle baby bok choy some time soon, if you haven’t already.

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    1) Do it yourself.
    2) Don’t ask.

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    In your shirt!

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    “the carb pert” — Are we talking about intake or emissions? What about the methane part? Do you get a commission, or just an emission?

  • KarenL

    Ha ha… I’m in CA too! It does look like something fermented. Just asking ’cause I tried making my own almond milk recently (milk allergy). It looks a little like that.

  • KarenL

    Ha ha… I’m in CA too! It does look like something fermented. Just asking ’cause I tried making my own almond milk recently (milk allergy). It looks a little like that.

  • KarenL

    Ha ha… I’m in CA too! It does look like something fermented. Just asking ’cause I tried making my own almond milk recently (milk allergy). It looks a little like that.

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    I called my honey Sweet Potato, once, and she slapped me! What’s with the orange rhizome? If you want a root, try root-a- begga!

  • Matthew

    I think this looks wonderful as far as the garlic it brings a wonderful taste to the dish also easy to make while in it’s own wrapper

  • Anonymous

    LOL, the sweer potatoes add nice color and are wonderful roasted especially with a few dried seasonings on the slices. And better than bread health-wise too. :-)

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    It’s vanilla sugar! Used vanilla beans in a jar with sugar.

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    It’s vanilla sugar! Used vanilla beans in a jar with sugar.

  • KarenL

    Thanks! I will definitely try that. Did a little research… on the King Arthur Flour site, it says to use the beans three ways… make extract in a cup of vodka, then dry the bean and use it to make vanilla sugar, then take it out and stir it into your coffee. Reduce, reuse, recycle!!!

  • leigh

    Yum.

  • emily920

    It looks delicious, but l’d like to stew chicken and vegetable more than fry them.
    Stewing is more healthy

  • Sara Molina

    Best. Chicken. Ever!

  • Clara

    And you could squeeze some of that roasted garlic into the sauce

  • james

    so you missed the part where he soaked the chicken with lemon and butter????

  • Tom Baird

    This was very nice! A few notes for my next whack at it:
    1. Don’t go crazy on salt
    2. Use one head broccoli per person
    3. Cook chicken for 35. Make sure each one has a lot of sauce.
    4. Put broccoli in for only 25 min or less.
    5. Use naked garlic (I want it bolder!)
    6. Start pan cold when doing the chicken.
    7. Use rosemary with chicken.
    8. A side of rice is nice. Saffron I think.

  • Anonymous

    Must be nice to be so popular you can end new friendships, kicking them to the curb, if they say something that doesn’t sit right with you.

  • Bill

    Okay, I just stumbled across this one in my “Recipes to Try” collection. What an easy and wonderful way of cooking chicken breasts. And the lemon sauce was to die for. I roasted some potatoes at the same time. I had some leftover sauteed carrots in the refrigerator, so I skipped the broccoli.

  • Jeannie Shmina Greenwald

    Love sweet potato fries! That could satisfy the carb need. Also, quinoa.