the bento packing, lunch cooking, photo taking, dog loving blog

Recipe: Pan Roasted Chicken

I mentioned yesterday that the picture above comprised much of what I ate last week: pan-roasted chicken with varying sides.  The recipe came from the June 2010 issue of Everyday Food magazine.  You are going to see alot from that magazine around here.  The recipes are simple for me to follow and don’t take a huge amount of thought from me.  Just what I need as I enter the uber-busy season at my particular job.  This recipe was quite tasty, though it did take a bit of time to prepare.  Seems like there should be a way to shave some time off this recipe.  I’m just not sure how.  As well, the whole recipe had a few issues that I need to deal with, but it was a nice solid first attempt.

The recipe called for chicken breasts, or something of the sort, but I had a family pack of chicken legs on hand, so that’s what I  used.  The chicken pieces were sprinkled liberally with salt, pepper, dried thyme, and Tony Chachere’s.

Before I go on with this recipe, I’m going to digress a bit.  Lately as I’ve been cooking, I’ve come to realize one thing that is missing from much of the recipe’s that I use (especially ones like Everyday Food): a good seasoning mix.  I like Tony Chachere’s.  It’s what my mom uses, what I’ve grown up on and am used to.  I read blogs that talk about the umami factor.  I’m still not real clear on what that is; however, I’m starting to wonder if partly, for me, if that factor might be Chachere’s.  It is what seems to be that missing flavor that I’m always looking for in a recipe.  It’s making its way into alot of my cooking lately. (And dear Tony’s if you see this, know I love you okay?).

Seasoned chicken is placed into a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat.  Each side of the chicken is pan roasted.  This process takes 3-5 minutes.

Your chicken should be nicely browned.  It is at this point I realized why the recipe calls for a flatter piece of chicken.  I couldn’t really get all the edges of the chicken browned.  Ah well, it still was tasty in the end.

Once the chicken is nicely browned, transfer it to a large, rimmed baking sheet.  No reason to oil the baking sheet since your chicken with be a bit oily.  I think in the next incarnation of this recipe I will drain the chicken before this step.  Or leave a step that is to come.

While I was pan-roasting the chicken, I sliced up a Vidalia onion and diced two cloves of garlic.

After cooking the chicken, I placed a wee bit of water in the bottom of the pan to sort of get the bits up (Is that deglazing? I think it is.).  To this, I added the sliced Vidalia onion and the diced garlic.  Be sure to use a Vidalia onion here if at all possible.  Their sweet taste adds a lovely flavor to the overall dish.

Cook until the onions are softened but not completely translucent.

Spread the semi-cooked onions and garlic across the chicken.

This is where I think I made my great mistake in this recipe.  I covered the whole thing.  The original recipe called for shallots to be used, but I’ve never had a shallot.  Therefore, I didn’t have any in the house and had none for the recipe.  But I did have that Vidalia onion, which I felt would be a nice substitute even if it wouldn’t give the same flavor as a shallot most likely would.  I was worried the oniones would not do well if not covered.  This contributed to the chicken legs not getting as crispy as I might like and staying a wee bit more oily than I would have liked.  Next time, I think I would either bake the dish uncovered for half the time or bake the chicken minus the onions/garlic for awhile.  I could always add the onions/garlic about 10 minutes before the end of the baking time.

The baking sheet should go in a 450 degree oven, roasting the chicken until cooked through, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Once finished baking, I pulled all the meat from the chicken legs for easier bento packing.

Verdict: This recipe is a keeper.  While I had a few foibles in the process, I think they are easily overcome obstacles.  This one I’m adding to my recipe index!


Pan Roasted Chicken modified from Everday Food (June 2010)


  • Package of chicken legs (can also use other bone-in chicken pieces)
  • Dried thyme
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning (or similar seasoning mix)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • Olive oil
  1. Wash and dry the chicken legs.
  2. Sprinkle all sides of the chicken legs with thyme, Tony Chachere’s, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a high-sided skillet on medium-high heat.
  4. Once the oil begins to shimmer, place chicken legs into the skillet.  Do not overcrowd.  Cook in batches if necessary.
  5. Brown chicken legs on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  6. Remove chicken legs to a paper towel lined plate and allow to drain.
  7. While chicken drains a bit, a small amount of water into the skillet to loosen up the bits on the bottom of the pan.
    Reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Place sliced Vidalia onion and diced garlic into the skillet.  Cook until onions are softened but not completely translucent.
  9. On a rimmed baking sheet, layout chicken for baking.  Top chicken with the cooked onions/garlic.
  10. Place in a 450 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  11. Once chicken is baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for a few minutes before serving.
  12. Enjoy!


  1. Sarah says:

    If you’re looking to shave some time/effort off this recipe, I’d skip the saute step. I find that drumsticks tend to do nicely just roasted in the oven and don’t really need that searing step which works well for other kinds of meat. Out of laziness, I’d probably just throw the onions onto the baking sheet with no pre-cooking either. I’d cook covered for the first half, give everything a good flip and then cook uncovered for the second half.

    I know that deglazing brings flavor to the party, but you lose some of it in the pan by transferring. If you really wanted to keep the fond from the roasted chicken, you could actually deglaze the baking sheet after roasting and have a bit of tasty liquid to drip on the cooked drumsticks or the sides.

  2. LizAnderson says:

    I know what you mean about seasoning — we’re fond of Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning (not the salt free tho) that you can get pretty much anywhere. I use our Foreman Grill all the time, so first it’s olive oil, then the Cavendar’s, then some additional oregano and granulated garlic. This goes on all manner of flesh!

    About that umami thing — I think it’s something you develop a taste for — and then know by taste when it’s missing. Have you ever eaten egg drop soup, but it was a little blah? Hit it with soy — it’s much better. Steak with ketchup? Ok, but mix some Worchestershire with the ketchup and yummmm! It’s that umami factor. Those yuppie chefs on this side of the world call it “depth of flavor.” Like they invented it!

    The chicken looks yummie, BTW. I like the comments of the person above me!

  3. eula says:

    That’s drool worthy chicken! I will have to make some for bentos too.

  4. This recipe looks YUMMY! Although we have to agree with Sarah, we would skip the saute step and do it all in the oven (much easier, quicker and less messy)

    P.S. We love you too!

    The Tony Chachere’s Gang

  5. Yvo says:

    Looks good- I agree with the above about cutting out sauteeing, but if you’re looking for that crusty edge it sounds like you are, I’m not sure you can skip that step. I would cuz I’m lazy and I don’t want an extra pan to wash. ;P

    As for umami, you know when you bite into a tomato? That’s umami. You know when you eat a piece of steak that has only been hit with salt and pepper? That’s umami. Of course, Chachere’s could have umami (I’ve sadly never had), but it’s really that elusive 5th taste that isn’t sweet, sour, salt, or bitter. It’s some combination that plays on your tongue and you’re like, ah. (They’re using the English word “savory” to describe it now, but I don’t think that quite captures the meaning… this from someone whose Japanese is laughable and I don’t have a full grasp of the connotation/context with which it would be used in Japanese… lol!)

    PS Shallots are way milder than onions, and taste like a combination of garlic and onion to me, but sweeter. They’d actually do worse in a recipe like this unless left whole or just halved – since they’re usually on the small side, I’d think they’d burn or super-caramelize in 15-20 minutes uncovered. Mmm… caramelized shallots

    PPS You rock!!! Love that you’re tweaking and fixing, tweaking and figuring it out <3

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