Skillet Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach
and pesto roasted cauliflower
Chicken cooked in a skillet with aromatics and a light spinach sauce is both rustic and elegant. Give the main dish your full attention while the oven does all the work on a roasted cauliflower and pesto side dish.
- Cauliflower florets - 1 lb
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Pesto (ingredients listed separately) - ~1/4 cup
- Pine nuts - 2 Tbsp (sub walnuts or pecans)
- Garlic - 1 clove, peeled
- Basil leaves - 1 1/2 oz
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 3 Tbsp
- Onions, medium - 1/2, chopped
- Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
- Sun-dried tomatoes in oil - 1/2 cup, drained and chopped
- Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless - 1 lb (sub chicken breasts, halved)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Arrowroot powder - 1 Tbsp
- Thyme, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Wine, white - 3/4 cup (sub stock)
- Stock, any type - 1/4 cup
- Spinach, baby - 3 oz
- Butter - 3 Tbsp
- Cauliflower / Onions / Garlic (portion for the chicken) / Sun-dried tomatoes - Prep as directed. Combine onions and tomatoes in one container. Store cauliflower and garlic in separate containers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make pesto - Double if making Thursday’s meal. Toast nuts in a dry skillet or frying pan until fragrant and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Peel garlic cloves (portion for the pesto). Place nuts, garlic, basil leaves and lemon juice into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are well chopped. With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken - Season with some salt and pepper and tenderize with a fork. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
- Spread cauliflower florets out onto a sheet pan and cover tightly with foil. ‘Steam’ in oven for 10 minutes.
- While cauliflower steams, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the first part of cooking oil (portion for the chicken). When oil is hot, sear chicken until golden brown on both sides and nearly cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side (it will finish cooking in the sauce). Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Once cauliflower has steamed, remove foil and toss with cooking oil (portion for the cauliflower) and some salt and pepper. Return pan to oven and roast until cauliflower is tender and golden brown, another 14 to 18 minutes.
- Return the skillet used to cook the chicken to medium-high heat and add second part of cooking oil (portion for the chicken). Add onions, sun-dried tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Saute until onions are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, arrowroot powder and dried thyme and stir until no dry spots remain, ~1 minute more. Pour wine over top and bring to a simmer. Simmer until wine has reduced by half, ~ 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low-medium and stir in stock, spinach and butter. Stir until butter melts. Nestle chicken in spinach and cover pan loosely with foil or with a lid, slightly ajar. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through and spinach is wilted, 3 to 4 minutes more.
- When cauliflower is finished, toss with pesto (remember to reserve half if doubled).
- Serve chicken with cauliflower on the side. (The spinach and cooking liquid are great spooned over both the chicken and cauliflower.) Enjoy!
The sauce was very decadent. I would do a few things differently: -Not add sun-dried tomatoes, too chewy and not too tasty -Continue to add Italian seasoning to the chicken (as per other commenters.) I also didn't make the potatoes as others said it was rather time-consuming, however I had butternut squash spirals as a side and it was a delicious companion to the chicken. Also - I had to cook the chicken longer at the end, the times listed were not enough to fully cook the chicken.0 Helpful
Too many competing flavors with the pesto and the sauce for the chicken. I'd make the chicken and sauce the same way again but leave the pesto out of the cauliflower and just roast them plain.0 Helpful
did not have sun dried tomatoes so used trader joe's jarred bruschetta and my family devoured the potatoes before i had a chance to mix them with the pesto. still fantastic!0 Helpful
Too much flour for amount of liquid. Recipe needs to be re-evaluated.0 Helpful
This was amazing! Great for having for when guest come!0 Helpful
Leave the pesto off SO cauliflower.0 Helpful