Yesterday I was a lazy cook. Me, the greatest proclaimer of “you cannot spend too much time in the kitchen”. Normally I would create reasons why I should be baking one more batch of chocolate chip cookies, or a third and fourth sponge cake (just in case) or take the long route in drying my own wild mushrooms, just to be able to rehydrate them and use them later in a carefully prepared risotto. No effort in the kitchen is too much in my books.
But yesterday I was having a really stressful day in my office (I work from home), and there was no other food for my husband and nanny than a few dry pieces of toast. The only option I had was to use the packet of chicken pieces (which was actually meant for a carefully planned family dinner later in the week). I had an hour and a half before lunchtime, so I took the lazy route and whipped up this creamy tomato sauce, poured it over the chicken and left it in a medium warm oven to do it’s own job while I got on with my work.
The beauty of this lazy dish is that you don’t have to brown your chicken pieces, batch after batch. You don’t have to skin onions or garlic, and fry them in a pan. You don’t have to carefully boil and skin the tomatoes – they come from a can. You don’t even have to cook the sauce at all before pouring it over the chicken. You just have to put the chicken pieces in an oven dish, mix the sauce up, pour it over, and leave it in the preheated oven for 75-90 minutes. Now if that is not a dish for lazy cooks, then I must be a skinny biaaatch.
So you are probably asking: what does a lazy chicken casserole like this taste like? It tastes like a mediterranean vacation. Slightly spicy, slightly sweet, very creamy, deep tomato flavours that linger long after you’ve licked all the sauce from your fingers (the red colour of the casserole in the picture is not retouched – this is actually what it looks like).
So don’t tell me you are too lazy to cook, because lazy or not, this one is doable.
1.25 – 1.5 kg chicken pieces
salt and pepper for seasoning
For the sauce:
1 can whole cherry tomatoes in juice (you can use bigger chopped tomatoes like rosa, but the cherry tomatoes look great)
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 flat teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cream
pinch of salt
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Arrange chicken pieces in an oven proof baking dish. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Mix together all ingredients for sauce in a jug, and pour over chicken pieces. Shake the dish carefully to ensure that the sauce have covered all the chicken pieces on all sides.
- Bake for 75-90 minutes, untill brown on top and bubbly. Serve with basmati rice and a fresh salad or steamed vegetables (or just tuck into the chicken).