Dinner for one is a thing entirely different than dinner for two. In the last two years, I’ve cooked a lot of dinners-for-one. I’ve become a pro at a legitimate meal, made quickly, efficiently, economically, with little or no waste. But for the last several months, I’ve been making a lot of dinners-for-two, and I must say, I quite like the change. It’s much more satisfying to make dinner you share with someone on a regular basis than sitting at the table alone with your dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I think that meals eaten alone are precious and to be treasured. But there’s something to be said for a quiet, simple weeknight meal you cook for just the two of you. I am liking this change.
But dinners for two are also quiet different than dinners for a crowd. Your average dinner party is not the quiet, intimate dinner full of quiet, languid moments. Dinner parties tend to be a bit more lively – with boisterous conversation, multiple bottles of wine, the host (or hostess) scurrying about to make sure all guests are tended to. It’s a job you either love or hate. I happen to revel in it, but I’m a strange creature that way.
What I’ve discovered, at least for myself, that while I love putting dinner parties together, I prefer to have not more than one complicated recipe. If I’m going to labor over something for a long period of time, something tricky and time-consuming, I like to select other dishes to be relatively stress-free. A simple summer soup that needs no cooking time; a vegetable side that’s festive, yet unfussy.
And, I think, chicken, particularly the dark meat, is especially forgiving in the low-maintenance department. Especially this chicken here. After washing and drying the drumsticks (I only had access to drumsticks after my local butcher got raided by a family throwing some kind of a crazy block party, taking nearly everything, the nerve!), you throw about some tomatoes, sliced onion, garlic cloves, and herbs into the roasting pan and then arrange the chicken in between the supporting cast. You then cook this whole mess, barely checking-in with the chicken (it can fend for itself, not to worry). This kind of chicken independence, if you will, leaves you with time to tend to some other things for dinner. It also allows you to claim some rewards – after all that slaving in the kitchen (wink, wink!). Perhaps you’ve earned yourself another piece of cake, or an extra scoop of sorbet. Even though, this is the kind of thing you live for – cooking for a crowd – it’s also about the little indulgences you allow yourself for embarking on such a journey. After all, the crazy amount of pleasure you get from cooking for dinner parties might raise eye brows with some folks – it might just sound crazy, so just keep it to yourself, ‘k?
So just sigh, pretend like you slaved over dinner, wipe your brow, and pour yourself that glass of wine, as if to lessen the burden a bit, even if it was a ridiculously fun adventure for you. “Reward” yourself for you “pains”.
1 pound cherry tomatoes in various colors
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1/2 cup brine-cured black olives, drained (pitted or un-pitted, doesn’t matter)
6 large garlic cloves, left in their peels
1 lemon, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sprigs of rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper
3 1/2 pounds varied chicken parts like drumsticks, thighs and breasts
1/4 cup water or chicken stock
Preheat convection oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
Toss together tomatoes, onion, olives, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 13×9 inch or other 3-quart shallow baking dish. Push vegetables to sides of dish to make room for chicken. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish so it has a bit of room to breathe and the pieces are not too close. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the chicken as well.
Roast for about 20 minutes and then add the water or stock to the pan. Place pan back into the oven and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F.
Let chicken stand 10 minutes before serving, and then serve with vegetables and pan juices.
Abby (Nibble, Nourish, Run)
What a perfect dish for a crowd…or for 2! It seems like such a perfect, comforting, rustic meal…I’m so craving dishes like this now that fall’s fast approaching…bookmarking!
This sounds phenomenal! It sounds like a perfect dinner to make for my boyfriend’s birthday. Would Kalamata olives be ok? Or are they too pungent? And is there any reasoning behind leaving the garlic in its peel? JW — I’m an avid fan of the stuff, so I wouldn’t mind extra garlic action.
Phoebe – I think Kalamatas will be great. leaving garlic in peels, i believe, prevents them from burning, allows them to cook inside a protective shell.
In my experience, anything with the word provencal in it, is really good. Your recipe looks delicious. I really like one-pan recipes. and thanks for tip about cooking the garlic in the shell!
viviane bauquet farre / food and style
This recipe is beautiful! You can never go wrong with olives, garlic and herbs. Kudos!
this looks fabulous, and a great way to use the last of summer’s great tomatoes! i’m going to have to make this soon!
Glad to see the recipe for this one. It looks amazing and I love how fresh everything looks.
I really enjoy the fluttery hubbub of hosting dinner parties too! It’s so different from attending a dinner party, throwing one yourself.
What a fabulous thing to do with chicken! I love those dishes where you can put them in the oven and forget about them for an hour or so. Perfect for hosting.
I prepared it on Friday night – and it was not only extremely delicious but also incredibly easy. I slightly modified it – used beef tomatoes, 1 lb of organic chicken and cooked everything on stove top in Dutch oven – all while taking a shower. It’s a live saver and the best recipe ever! Thanks you!
I just made this recipe while camping. I had prepared almost everything before leave for the weekend. I ended up dividing everything in two disposable tin foil 8″ x 8″ and put them both cook on the grill over the fire. I might have added a little bit more chicken stock (white wine would probably be delicious too). I was SO delightful! Everyone was amazed at the taste and it was the easier gourmet camping meal!
I made this for dinner (for one!) last night, just reducing the amounts of everything for a single portion. It was delicious, and so easy, I’ll definitely be adding it to my regular rotation!
OMG! This was sooooo great! What a great dish to use up stuff from the many gardens I get my veggies from. I made a variation and only had garlic, tomato, and red onion. I put fresh basil on top instead of rosemary and thyme. It turned out amazing! I served with some roasted red potatos. Delish! Thanks for the great recipe!
I’ve made this 3 or 4 times since you posted it and it’s become a favorite. Both because it’s tasty AND because it’s so easy. Thanks!!
Made this tonight for my family. What a fantastic dish! Tons of flavor with minimal preparation. The lemon and garlic worked in perfect harmony with the tomatoes to bring out the natural tenderness of the chicken. We will definitely make this again. Thank you!
I made this recipe last night and it was amazing. I used kalamata olives and I didn’t have fresh thyme so I used dry thyme and it was delicious. Such a comforting, yummy meal. I will be cooking this for years to come.
Did you add corn? The last pic looks like there are corn kernals. Looks fab and making soon!
Jessica, we must have served it with a corn salad that night! It is corn, but it wasn’t part of the recipe. Sorry for the confusion.
Looks like a great recipe. Just a question about lemons – when do you put them in? Thanks!
Dig – right at the beginning!
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Olga! You are a treasure! I have 393 favorites on GoJee and half of them are yours. I just made a Jamie Oliver recipe with chicken and cherry tomatoes, much like your provencal, but like your ideas better and am making it today. He added new potatoes, which I will continue to do. LOVED the story about the Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon marmalade and can’t wait for them to come into season. AND, just happened to read about the Arnold Palmer and am rushing out to restock my Maker’s Mark. You suit my taste exactly and I love to read your charming little stories. Best wishes for the wedding. Preordered your book.
annie – thank you so much for such kind words! So glad you like the recipes and yay for matching palates. That arnold palmer was such a hit at the wedding. we had a blast!! thank you for the book pre-order too! i hope more folks make kimchi and realize it’s so easy and not at all scary.
To Eat: Chicken Provençal - PopBetty
[…] night I made chicken provençal using this recipe by Sassy Radish. It’s easy & good, although I have a few […]
and if one doesn’t have a convection oven??
Tammy – is this a question for me? I’ve never tested a single recipe on this site with a convection oven.