Fall is just about upon us, so the cook’s mind begins turning to such dishes as this savory, oven-roasted chicken, accompanied here by Baked Parmesan Polenta. Add a salad for a scrumptious “shoulder season” dinner.


Lots of recipes for “sheet pan meals” have been circulating on blogs and websites recently. Although this chicken dish, which is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe, is made in a roasting pan, the concept is the same: combine everything in the pan and roast in the oven, basically unattended, for an hour or so. The secret is to make sure the chicken is only half-submerged in the sauce, allowing for the skin to become crispy on top and falling-of-the-bone tender underneath.

Serves 4 to 5

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

¾ cup white wine


1 (15-ounce) can drained cannellini beans

¾ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, halved if large, or use mixed pitted olives

6 peeled garlic cloves

½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

¼ cup coarsely chopped rosemary sprigs

6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or combination of thighs and drumsticks


Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an 8- by 12-inch roasting pan, combine the chopped tomatoes, ¾ cup water, the wine, beans, olives, garlic, pepper flakes and half the rosemary sprigs. Stir to combine. Season the chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper and nestle skin side up into tomato mixture. (The tomatoes should not cover chicken.) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining rosemary.

Roast uncovered for about 1½ hours, lightly basting once or twice with the cooking liquid, until the chicken is browned on top and the meat is falling off the bone. Add a bit more water if sauce is concentrating too much.


This is the perfect vehicle for soaking up the chicken’s yummy tomato sauce.


Serves 4 as a side dish

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup yellow or white cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring the broth to a boil over high heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Whisk the cornmeal with 1 cup cold water and the salt in a mixing bowl.

Gradually whisk the cornmeal mixture into the simmering broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the polenta, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon frequently, until it is very thick and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 10 to 20 minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup cheese and season with black pepper to taste.

Butter a 9-inch dish such as a pie plate. Spoon the polenta into the prepared dish, smoothing the top, and sprinkle with cheese. (Can be made several hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before baking.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the polenta uncovered in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until firm and lightly browned on top and the edges shrink from the sides of the pan. (The polenta can be kept warm, loosely covered, in the turned-off oven for about 30 minutes.)

Spoon out of the dish or cut into wedges to serve.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:


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