One-pot Mediterranean chicken recipe with a delicious fresh tomato sauce. Serve with your favorite side dishes for a complete meal.
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Are you looking for an easy and delicious chicken dinner? Learn how simple it is to make Mediterranean chicken. A combination of lean meat, fresh vegetables, briny olives, and tangy feta cheese make this a colorful entree. Pair it with a couscous or orzo salad, grilled vegetables, and crispy potatoes.
The meat briefly marinates in a simple citrus sauce before cooking. The pieces are then pan-seared to create a flavorful crust and gently simmered in a savory tomato sauce. It only takes 30 minutes to prepare and works great for meal prep.
Use boneless skinless chicken breast for a lean protein option that cooks quickly. Select pieces that are about 8 ounces in size. Any larger, and I recommend cutting them into cutlets. This prevents the chicken from drying out and will require shorter cooking times.
If you prefer dark meat, use bone-in or boneless chicken thighs, although they require more time to simmer until the internal temperature reaches 170ºF (77ºC).
Marinate the chicken
To infuse bright, citrusy notes and rich olive oil flavor onto the meat, soak it in a Mediterranean chicken marinade. I use extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, paprika, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. You can also add ¼ cup of plain greek yogurt for extra tanginess.
Mix the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, then add the chicken, turning to coat each piece evenly. The concentrated mixture will quickly season the meat. You only need 15 minutes, but you can marinate for up to 24 hours.
Sear the pieces
I use a large skillet with a cover or a dutch oven to cook the dish. To add a flavorful, golden brown crust to the chicken, sear the pieces in olive oil. Cook the first side over medium heat for 5 minutes. Then flip and cook the other side over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
This will not thoroughly cook the chicken unless using thinner cutlets. The pieces will finish cooking while gently braising in the sauce.
Make a sauce
One of my favorite ways to make a quick tomato sauce is to use fresh cherry tomatoes. They are small and very sweet and don’t require peeling. The skin helps to keep the sauce chunky and rustic, with a nice contrast of textures.
Cook diced red onions and minced garlic in olive, then saute the tomatoes until just softened. Sliced green olives or kalamata olives are added for an instant briny flavor. The tomatoes will burst and concentrate as it simmers with the chicken.
Braise the chicken
To finish cooking the chicken breast, add it to the pan with the tomato sauce and chicken stock. Feel free to add ¼ cup of dry white wine for depth. Cover and cook over low heat until it reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC).
The process takes about 15 minutes, depending on the pieces’ thickness. I use a similar approach to cook shredded chicken, using steam heat to ensure juicy and tender pieces. Garnish with feta cheese and chopped parsley right before serving.
Serve this with
Frequently asked questions
The marinated chicken can be barbecued or cooked on a grill pan. Use medium-high heat, between 400 to 450ºF (204 to 232ºC). Make sure to cover and cook, flipping halfway through. Depending on the thickness, it takes about 5 to 8 minutes per side. Move to a cooler part of the grill if it needs more time or is browning too quickly.
Cut the chicken into large cubes, about 1 to 2 inches in size. Marinate in the sauce to season the surface, then thread onto skewers. Cook over medium heat in a barbecue or grill pan. Flip and cook each side until lightly charred and fully cooked.
While braising the chicken, other flavorful vegetables can be added to the sauce, making it a heartier meal. Add sliced zucchini, pieces of green beans, cooked artichokes hearts, mushrooms, or diced red or gold potatoes.
Ways to cook other pieces of chicken
This Mediterranean chicken dish uses boneless white meat. However, bone-in chicken breasts or thighs work well for braising. Make sure to brown the skin nicely. This renders the fat, making the surface less flabby in texture. The bones act as insulators and flavor the sauce. It takes longer to cook bone-in meat. If cooking dark meat, cook it until it reaches 170ºF (77ºC).
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- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
- 1 ½ teaspooons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoons black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika, sweet or smoked
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, 4 pieces
- 1 cup diced red onion, ½" dice
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, about 3 cups, halved
- ⅓ cup green olives, or kalamata, sliced
- ½ cup unsalted chicken stock
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
- Marinate the Chicken – In a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, paprika, and oregano. Add the chicken pieces and turn to evenly coat. Cover and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Sear the Chicken – Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken. Cook until the surface is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook the Aromatics – In the same pan used to cook the chicken, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Saute the onions until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.
- Cook the Tomatoes – Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the olives, stir, and cook for 1 minute.
- Braise the Chicken – Add the chicken back to the pan, nestling it into the tomato mixture. Cover and cook over low heat until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 13 to 17 minutes.
- To Serve – Garnish with feta cheese and parsley. Serve with tomato and olive sauce.
- Storing: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
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