A lot of my stories about food pertain to my nanny and poppy. Growing up, I saw my grandparents constantly. They played just as large a role in raising me as my mom & dad, but being closer in lineage to the FOB (Fresh Off Da Boat) Italians of my ancestry, my grandparents really, really cultivated practices of food equals love.
Its so crazy how food gets all mixed in with our emotions. We reach for chocolate when we are sad. The smell of garlic can make me teary-eyed and longing to see my grandma again. We celebrate with fancy dinners. Food affects our feelings. And that's okay. We just have to know that there are other ways to celebrate, other ways to make us feel better when we are sad, and other ways to honor loved ones or traditions. We can't always lean on food, but when we choose to: we should savor and enjoy it.
Anyway, this dinner was my absolute faveee dish that my grandfather used to make. I'd always ask for Poppy's Chicken as a child. And while I'll never have his magic touch, this comes pleasantly close to recreating the delicious, warm, cozy flavors of Italian comfort food (without the usual onslaught of carbs from pasta and Italian bread!). Who knew? My plump poppy was ahead of his times; using real, clean ingredients to create one of my most fave dishes from my childhood.
This is perfect when its cool outside....and perfect for after a run when your toes and fingers just can't seem to ever get warm. The potatoes will refuel your hungry muscles and the chicken will heal and build muscle. All I gotta say is, "Shout out to my Poppy!!"
Poppy's Baked Italian Chicken
2 tablespoons avocado oil 6 chicken thighs or drumsticks* (skin-on)
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced 16 oz bag of small potatoes (I used multi-colored) 1 cup broth 1 15 oz can of peas (do NOT drain) 1 small 8 oz can of tomato paste salt + pepper 4 tablespoons parsley Optional Garnish: Cherry tomatoes, basil, parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400*F.
In a deep dish baking pan, arrange four pieces of chicken. Rub with avocado oil, salt, pepper, and parsley.
Add potatoes, garlic, and onions to the pan. Spread evenly on the pan with a large spoon.
Add broth, tomato paste, and peas to the pan. Spread evenly with a large spoon.
Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes; ideally flipping the chicken halfway through.
After 50 minutes, remove the foil and broil for 10 minutes.
Serve garnished with basil, chopped cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese, if desired.
*I bake with the skin-on. You can optionally sear the chicken before putting it in the baking pan.