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Oven-baked chicken with zucchini & caramelized onion tomato sauce

Oven-baked chicken with zucchini & caramelized onion tomato sauce

Well it’s officially Fall, and you know what that means. It’s time for hearty meals that warm the soul! One of my absolute favorite go tos this time of the year is using chicken thighs in my dishes. This tasty and versatile cut of the bird is one of my absolute favorites! In addition, it’s ever so easy on your wallet. To kick off our welcoming of cooler weather. I wanted to share with you my oven baked chicken with a zucchini and caramelized onion tomato sauce. Sweetened with dark brown sugar  (my secret ingredient to this dish). I serve it  alongside chilled ricotta cheese with fresh lemon zest and cracked blacked pepper. Now, let’s jump to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in skin on. 
  • 1 can of Hunts fire-roasted diced tomatoes 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small can of tomato paste 8 ounces
  • 2 zucchini’s diced
  • Caramelized onions 
  • Olive Oil 
  • Brown Sugar 
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Brown Sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, Pat room temperature chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and generously season with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium sauce pan pour a small amount of olive oil in the pan. Heat on low, and add the minced garlic to flavor the oil. Now add the minced tomatoes, diced zucchini, and tomato paste. Simmer on low. 

3. Gather your onions, I would say 4/5 onions are best for this dish. Caramelized onions are super easy to make and adding different varieties of onions adds depth to your dish. So just use what you have around the house. Dice the onions and place in a medium saucepan with olive oil. Cooking on medium for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring the onions occasionally. You want them a golden brown color, wilted and rich but not fried. Patience is your best friend here when making these. Once they are caramelized add them to your sauce and simmer on low. 

4. Add a pinch of dark brown sugar to your sauce, this adds an earthy richness and complexity to your dish.

5. Place the chicken thighs in a 9×12 oven safe dish skin up. I prefer to use an aluminum pan for super easy clean up. Cook the thighs for 35-45 minutes until the skin is nice and crispy. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees to be consumed. Be sure the chicken juices run clear before serving. 

6. Once the chicken is ready to be served. Gently pour your tomato sauce over the chicken and season with cracked black pepper, coarse sea salt, and red pepper flakes.

I love serving this dish in a bowl accompanied with well-chilled ricotta cheese, black pepper, and fresh lemon zest. I love combining different textures and temperatures of food on the same plate. It adds a sense of adventure while dining. If you really love lemons as I do, don’t be shy and add it on top of your sauce prior to serving. Life’s short and you can never have too much zest in life!

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