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Sear-Roasted Chicken with Tomato & Red Wine Sauce


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Sear, Roast & Sauce
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 71

When you sear-roast chicken breasts you get perfect browning and even doneness. It's a simple restaurant technique you can do at home with great results. Here's a tip to get the most out of this dish: Be sure that the oven has reached 425°F before starting to sear—most ovens take 20 to 30 minutes to heat up thoroughly.

For the Chicken:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb. total)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, canola oil, or peanut oil
For the Tomato & Red Wine Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes (preferably “petite-cut”), with their juices
  • 2 Tbs. loosely packed chopped fresh oregano
  • Pinch crushed red chile flakes
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sear-roast the chicken:

Heat the oven to 425°F. Turn the exhaust fan on to high. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. of each total). Heat a 12-inch heavy-based ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until a droplet of water vaporizes in 1 or 2 seconds, about 1 min. (If the water skitters around the pan and doesn’t evaporate, the pan is too hot; take it off the heat for about 30 seconds to cool.)

Add the oil, swirl it around the pan, and then evenly space the chicken in the pan. Cook without touching for 2 min. Using tongs, lift a corner of the chicken, check that it’s both well browned and easily releases from the pan, and flip it over. (If it sticks or isn’t well browned, cook for 1 to 2 more min. before flipping.) Cook the second side for 1 min. and then transfer the skillet to the oven.

Roast until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and is firm to the touch, about 5 to 8 min. Using potholders, carefully remove the pan from the oven, transfer the chicken to a large plate, tent with foil, and let it rest while you prepare the sauce in the same skillet.

Prepare the pan sauce:

Pour off any excess fat from the skillet. Return the pan to high heat and add the red wine. Cook, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any browned bits, until the wine is reduced to a glazy film. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the red chile flakes; cook until the juices reduce to a saucy consistency, about 3 min. Stir in the oregano and Parmigiano; season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately spooned over the sear-roasted chicken.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with pasta or rice on the side. Try Orzo with Lemon, Garlic, Parmigiano & Herbs.

Drink Suggestions

Wine choices: The flavor intensity brought out by searing, and the zippy flavors in the sauce, can handle a Chardonnay with some oak or a lighter Côtes du Rhône red.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings, Calories (kcal): 310, Fat (kcal): 13, Fat Calories (g): 120, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 39, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7, Carbohydrates (mg): 6, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 850, Cholesterol (g): 100, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very quick and easy. We doubled the sauce (and glad we did) since we served with a side of egg noodles.

This is a great recipe - the basic method for cooking chicken breasts and having them turn out juicy is great. I didn't throw out the olive oil and sauteed sprigs of thyme (omitting the oregano) in it after the chicken had come out of the oven and was "resting." Aside from that and forgetting to put in the parmigiano, I followed the recipe exactly. Came together quickly and was delicious. We found that it stood up nicely to a fairly heavy red - Rombauer Zinfandel.

What a surprise!! I gave this 5 stars because so rarely is there a quick weeknight recipe you can wow with. Great and Easy! Chicken turned out flawless.

This was an excellent tasting dish. I do need to play with it a little more as my chicken came out a little dry.

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