For the next edition of the Delaney Test Kitchen re-creation of the NYT special section on sheet-pan dinners I made the Sheet-Pan Chicken with Jammy Tomatoes and Pancetta. My kids said they even liked this one even more than the Gochujang Chicken and Roasted Vegetables. That is saying a lot.
As with all sheet-pan meals, this was super easy. But I did stray from the original recipe a bit to make sure my crew would eat it.
Here are the changes I made:
1. Instead of chicken thighs, I used chicken breasts. But I did not reduce the cooking time.
2. Instead of 2oz of pancetta, I used 4oz. The package was 4oz, and I didn’t have anything else to use it with, so I threw it in. And I am so glad I did – I think this was a big reason why the tray was devoured.
3. For the fresh spices at the end, I used both dill and parsley.
4. I used way more garlic - maybe another Tbsp of freshly grated in the marinade. Yum.
4. I served this with a side of Jasmine Rice.
One other change I made - for my guys I I had to rebrand it as Sheet-pan Garlic Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes. It was much more appetizing to them. With the original name they were like, "what is it??"
Here is the recipe for Sheet-Pan Garlic Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes, aka:
Sheet-Pan Chicken with Jammy Tomatoes and Pancetta
· 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
· ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
· 9 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
· 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more for serving
· 1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
· 1 teaspoon dried oregano
· 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
· ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
· 1 pint cherry tomatoes (preferably different colors), halved
· 2 ounces diced pancetta or bacon
· ¼ cup torn fresh dill, parsley or other herbs, for serving
· Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken all over with salt, and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
Smash all the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and peel them. Finely grate one garlic clove and put it in a small bowl. Stir in the 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, paprika, oregano, brown sugar (if using) and cumin. Pour over chicken, tossing to coat.
Add tomatoes and remaining smashed, peeled garlic cloves to baking sheet, spreading them out around the chicken. Season tomatoes lightly with salt and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Scatter pancetta on top.
Roast until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the tomatoes and pancetta, but don’t disturb the chicken.
Transfer chicken to plates. Stir the tomatoes and pancetta around in the pan, scraping up all the delicious browned bits from the bottom and sides, and stir in the herbs and black pepper to taste. Taste and add salt, if needed, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if you like. Spoon tomatoes, garlic and pancetta over the chicken to serve.
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Kris Delaney is a marketing executive, foodie, travel enthusiast, and book nerd based in Atlanta, GA.