Chicken

Memo: Make Jamie Oliver’s Crazy, Genius One-Pot Chicken ASAP

July 26, 2017

Jamie Oliver has been known to do otherworldly things with chicken, given a few strident ingredients and enough time in a single pot. But this time, somehow, you have to do even less to get there.

This summery chicken-tomato-mélange's miraculous qualities have all the hallmarks of a braise—the fall-apart tenderness and well-developed, concentrated sauce—without having to sear anything first or spatter your stovetop or do ... much at all.

You truly can throw everything into the pot in the time it takes the oven to heat, ripping the basil leaves caveman-style and chucking them in; chopping the stems imprecisely and cleaving through small tomatoes, then chucking them in, too. Oliver’s website in fact clocks this recipe at 1 hour 35 minutes, implying just 5 minutes of assembly, which is only exaggerating a little bit. Like in this instant dinner party pork shoulder ragu, there are very few ways to improve on the good work a moderate oven and time can do.

See? In this gif, it only takes like 9 seconds!

Quick question: Did you catch that the basil stems go in, too? Have you ever seen a recipe that does this? (No really, please tell me.) The stems cook down just long enough to turn soft and almost meaty, so that all but the very woodiest ones are safe to add to the pot.

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Top Comment:
“I added some parsley stems (left over from the night before from salmoriglio sauce for swordfish) and all the basil - which did get dark but was still delicious. Since we were eating outdoors, I used the oven - our grill heats the deck up too much - and served it with baked potatoes and asparagus (cooked in the other oven). I did turn the oven to convection after about 45 minutes since it wasn't crisping and that did the trick. Everyone enjoyed it. Next time I'll add some dried or fresh chile pepper, as suggested, but my granddaughter doesn't enjoy a lot of spiciness yet - she is only 5 1/2. This is a keeper, for certain.”
— Beth A.
Comment

Oliver is also the king of glugs and handfuls, which can reasonably be unnerving for people who treasure the guidance of recipes, as we do. But in this instance, it’s altogether freeing. I haven’t needed to reference the actual recipe since the first time I made it. The simplicity of the technique—snuggle in pan, roast—is fairly un-stumpable, and will expand and contract to fit any size vessel you have. I like to make a lot at once, which means I’ve found the perfect use for extra-wide Dansk pan I inherited from my grandmother-in-law Virg (her pan is just like this round one, but in a deep coral/mauve).

The one thing you might feel torn about is running your oven for an hour and a half in the heat of tomato season—but as long as you’re not in one of the swampier corners of the country or world, it’s a very small price to pay. If you are, stay strong, and bookmark this for your first cool night, and all fall long.

Because as it roasts, the basil leaves turn crispy while the stems fuse into the sauce. Food52er nutcakes, who sent me this recipe years back, rightly called it “stunningly fragrant.” The chicken jus intensifies and swirls together with the slumpy tomatoes and whatever other friends you’ve thrown in with them. Cannellini beans? Baby potatoes? Collard greens? Just think: What would taste better in chicken-tomato-basil-schmaltzy-stew? Pretty much anything, right?

Photos by Julia Gartland

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thank you to Food52er nutcakes for this one.

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25 Comments

fearlessem October 3, 2018
This was tasty but it definitely didn't strike me as genius... I used the beans and might omit those next time... They kind of fell apart and ended up absorbing much of the liquid in the pot, so there wasn't as much sauciness as I'd like...
 
Ivory December 20, 2017
Yum ths dish looks so yummy, that I can almost hear the angels singing.
 
Sharon D. September 20, 2017
Thanks for the reminder... I made this about a month ago and it was devine!!! Must do it again... like today!<br />
 
Melanie O. August 27, 2017
I made this tonight and followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out delicious and juicy! It takes a while to cook, but assembly took me less than 10 minutes. It's an easy limited-ingredient one pot meal which looked gourmet when it was finished. I didn't have red chillies, so I used red pepper flakes as suggested. The chicken had a few pieces of excess skin which I trimmed. We're trying to reduce carbs, so instead of pasta, I served with sauteed vegetables and threw a little bit of the broth from the chicken into the sauté for a little extra flavor. Next time I would like to try the recipe with the new potatoes (forget what I just said about carbs, lol!)
 
BigMrE August 14, 2017
I made it closely following the Jamie's instructions, adding the optional thin sliced potatoes on top. It came out horrible, will not be repeated. The "sauce" was just grease and lots of weak tasting juices. The tomatoes never really incorporated into anything. Even with an extra 30 minutes roasting at 380° at the end, the chicken skin wasn't at all crispy. All in all a greasy, disappointing mess.
 
PareeDave August 2, 2017
Since you asked, Jamie's recipe for Pasta alla Norma (in *Jamie's Italy*) also calls for the stalks to be chopped up and added to the sauce, which doesn't cook for as long, so I use only the most tender stems. I find nearly every recipe of his so memorable and simple that I almost never refer back to the book after preparing once. There is a one-pot rabbit/chicken recipe in that same book that is to die for, although it does require flouring and browning the pieces first. Still...
 
Beth A. August 2, 2017
Diane - you don't peel the garlic cloves but you do remove the papery skin holding the cloves together. We served this with bread and I squeezed the garlic out of the cloves and spread on the bread and then dipped it in the liquid developed in the pan. I strained it out, put the tomatoes back on the dish to serve it with and served the liquid on the side.
 
Beth A. August 2, 2017
I made this tonight since my daughter and granddaughter were coming at the last minute. I used 4 leg quarters and 4 thighs (I wanted leftovers). I used 1 beefsteak tomato and a box of Campari tomatoes. I used a smallish bulb of garlic. I added some parsley stems (left over from the night before from salmoriglio sauce for swordfish) and all the basil - which did get dark but was still delicious. Since we were eating outdoors, I used the oven - our grill heats the deck up too much - and served it with baked potatoes and asparagus (cooked in the other oven). I did turn the oven to convection after about 45 minutes since it wasn't crisping and that did the trick. Everyone enjoyed it. Next time I'll add some dried or fresh chile pepper, as suggested, but my granddaughter doesn't enjoy a lot of spiciness yet - she is only 5 1/2. This is a keeper, for certain.
 
Mary D. July 31, 2017
Made it last night, house smelled wonderful! It was excellent, will make it again for certain.
 
Colette S. July 30, 2017
I wonder if there's a way to adapt this to an Instant Pot, instead of heating up my kitchen for an hour and a half? <br />
 
annette July 30, 2017
Uncovered, right, because it roasts? Covered would be a braise?
 
Diane July 30, 2017
But I do have to peel the garlic right?
 
Kari July 30, 2017
did a similar version but put in Big Green Egg, raised, indirect.<br />covered grills are a GREAT substitute for ovens! <br />
 
Kari July 30, 2017
did a similar version but put in Big Green Egg, raised, indirect.<br />covered grills are a GREAT substitute for ovens! <br />
 
Kari July 30, 2017
did a similar version but put in Big Green Egg, raised, indirect.<br />covered grills are a GREAT substitute for ovens! <br />
 
Patti July 26, 2017
Have you tried it with breast meat or a mixture of legs and breasts? wonder if it would be ok?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. July 27, 2017
Chicken breast doesn't braise well like thighs and legs do since the meat is so lean and doesn't have all the good connective tissue that gets super tender with longer, lower cooking. If you wanted to try this with breasts or a mix, I would only cook the breasts until they're done (165 F, and the flesh should be firm and white throughout if you peek with a paring knife) You might need to leave the legs in a little longer, if you're doing a mix. Any that don't have nicely browned, crisp skin, you can broil at the end.<br /><br />
 
Katie H. July 26, 2017
Do you think it would be ok to remove the skin?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. July 27, 2017
The skin protects the meat from drying out (and it's really tasty). I'd leave the skin on and anyone who doesn't want to eat it can avoid it easily after cooking. Or if you want to leave it off completely, you'll probably want to flip the legs occasionally to try to keep them basted, and/or partially cover the pan to keep more moisture in. They'll be tender, but not crisp.
 
EmilyC July 26, 2017
Just last night, I made a baked pasta salad and I wanted to add basil, but I talked myself out of it because I knew the leaves would turn brown and crispy. IF only I'd seen this yesterday! : ) This looks like a keeper!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. July 27, 2017
That crispy basil is almost as nice of a surprise as the stems. Baked pasta salad though! Please explain more.
 
EmilyC July 27, 2017
A few times now, I've made pasta salad (vinaigrette and all) then baked it with a layer of cherry tomatoes and bacon slices on top. As they bake, the tomatoes and bacon essentially create a second dressing (a warm bacon one!!). I'll add tons of basil next time, inspired by this recipe!
 
AntoniaJames July 26, 2017
Put herb stems in a dish? Yes, I've heard of that . . . I wrote an article on it here, which features recipes on this site that expressly include them (I've been doing it for years), plus dozens of others that can be adapted: https://food52.com/blog/13959-over-30-recipes-to-put-herb-stems-to-good-use At the end of the piece are links to collections I created by category of recipes featuring herb stems. ;o)
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. July 26, 2017
Ah, thank you, I should have been more specific! Basil stems specifically seem to have a reputation for being bitter, but they're delicious in this sauce.
 
Erik W. July 31, 2017
Also common to chop basil stems into ratatouille and simmer. Yum!