Lynda Balslev: Get your jam on with this sheet pan dinner
Sheet pan dinners are hardly a new trend, but the method is consistently revelatory. It’s impossible not to marvel at its simplicity and ability to deliver a one-dish, er, -pan dinner packed with flavor.
This chicken dish is easy and extremely flexible in that you can make it all at once or marinate the chicken a few hours ahead or overnight for convenience, with the bonus of extra flavor from the marinating time. When ready to cook, perch the chicken over sliced onions and tomatoes and let the meat’s juices baste the vegetables while they soften and break down into a chunky sauce.
Once the chicken is cooked, you are left with a generous amount of flavorful juice mingling with slippery ribbons of onion and collapsed, squidgy tomatoes. You could stop there, but don’t: Take it one step further by simply pouring all the veggies and the juice into a skillet and reducing it to a rich and slick jam to serve with the chicken. This is not only a one-dish meal — it’s a self-basting, self-seasoning family dinner.
Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs With Tomato Onion Jam
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, plus marinating time
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken thighs
1 pound grape tomatoes, halved
1 large yellow onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Combine the oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprikas, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the chicken with the oil mixture, including under the skin.
Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If you have time, you can refrigerate the chicken at this point for up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the tomatoes, onion, thyme and rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a little oil and lightly season with salt and black pepper. Nestle the chicken over and between the vegetables. If there are any remaining juices from the marinade, drizzle them over the vegetables.
Roast in the oven until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.
Transfer the vegetables and pan juices to a skillet. (There should be a good amount of pan juice from the chicken.) Stir in the tomato paste and red chili flakes and simmer over medium-low heat until the consistency is slightly reduced and jammy, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper if desired. Serve the chicken with the sauce.
Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area
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