Sundays are typically quiet affairs where I spend much of the day cleaning and generally preparing for the week ahead. It is also the day I cook myself the meals I need for the coming work week, so much of my Sunday afternoons are spent in the kitchen. In my Sunday Dinner series, I highlight some of my culinary concoctions. This week’s dinner is…
Cheesy Unbreaded Chicken Parmigiana & Roasted Red Potato Medallions
One of Julianne’s favourites and a fancy-looking meal that’s surprisingly easy to prepare. I’m clocking in prep times under 10 minutes when I make this — 15 minutes if I decide to make a Caesar salad to go along with it.
My inspiration for this was pure experimentation. As a teenager, one of my friends’ parents made a sausage casserole in a marinara sauce and topped with generous amounts of cheese. It was really good, but also simplistic. In my case, I tend to work with chicken breasts, getting a grocery delivery every two to three weeks which includes 6 kilos of chicken breast.
When I made it the first time, it seemed to make sense to place the chicken on a bed of plain steamed rice. In subsequent versions, I did away with the rice given that the potatoes satisfied my starch requirement. One casserole feeds both Julianne and I, and provides me with leftovers for lunch well into Tuesday.
Given the amount of sauce going into the casserole, breaded chicken breasts would not be appropriate, unless you like soggy bread (which is how I would imagine it to come out).
Here’s what you’ll need:
6 chicken breasts
5 red potatoes, washed
750ml tomato sauce (roughly 2 cans)
1 can Hunt’s tomato paste (151ml)
2 green onions, chopped
300g shredded parmesan cheese (any shredded cheese would do the job though)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1tbsp Black Pepper
Pinch of salt
1tbsp Garlic Powder
1tbsp Chilli Powder
2tbsp olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 450F.
- Cut the washed potatoes into 1cm thick medallions. Rinse medallions and remove excess moisture by drying with paper towel. Place medallions into a tossing bowl.
- Toss medallions in olive oil,, garlic powder, pepper, basil and salt until all of the medallions have been exposed to the oil and spices. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together half of the tomato sauce and the tomato paste with the chilli powder and minced garlic.
- In a casserole pan, place chicken breasts and dump pasta sauce. Turn the chicken breasts over to ensure that the entire breast has been exposed to the sauce.
- Place chicken in oven and remove after 15 minutes.
- Place potato medallions in casserole over the chicken. Dump the remaining tomato sauce over the potatoes and chicken. Top with chopped green onions and cheese.
- Return to oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve with a side salad.
Start to finish, you’re looking at an hour between the time you start and the time you can realistically start eating, so it might not be a realistic meal to put together if you’ve procrastinated on dinner and find out it’s already 9pm. But if you’re in no hurry to eat, the prep is easy and this cooks itself. Much of the time spent in the oven is time I spend doing other things — laundry, dishes, catching up on emails or writing.
Presentation isn’t my strong suit, but you can dress this up really nicely when it comes out of the oven. I generally like to have a side of pickled beets too with this. The first time I made it I ate along with a couple of glasses of red wine, and I thought that was an excellent complement to this meal. Then again, chicken and beer is also a great match.