Pan-Roasted Chicken With Red Bell Pepper Sauce

There are several brands of jarred roasted red bell peppers on the market, but the store-bought kind can’t match the deep, penetrating smokiness of fresh peppers roasted in your own kitchen. And they’re easy to prepare.

If you have a gas range, you can roast peppers directly over the burners on the stovetop. Or, you can roast them in the oven of a gas or electric range. Methods for both are noted below.

Serve the chicken breasts on top of a bed of orzo or other pasta – or rice – for a hearty, satisfying dinner.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6-oz chicken breast halves, pounded to an even thickness
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • cooked orzo or rice, for serving

Preparation

To roast the bell pepper over a gas flame: Turn 2 burners on high and place 1 pepper half directly over each, cut-side up. Char until the skin blackens and begins to blister, using tongs to turn in different positions to char all sides.

To oven roast: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the pepper halves cut-side up in a shallow foil- or parchment-lined pan. Roast until beginning to char, 10-12 minutes. Turn and roast until blackened, 10-12 minutes longer.

For both methods, proceed with the recipe as follows:

  1. When the skin is blistered, transfer the pepper halves to a paper bag, seal tightly, and let steam 15 minutes. Remove from the bag and use a small paring knife (or your fingers) to peel the skin. Coarsely chop.
  2. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped bell pepper, vegetable broth, tomato paste, and vinegar and bring to a light simmer, stirring to incorporate the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour the pepper mixture into a food processor. Process until a smooth puree forms, adding vegetable broth a little at a time if the mixture is too thick. (It should have about the same consistency as canned tomato sauce.)
  5. Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan, stir in the paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat while the chicken cooks. (Or prepare the sauce a day ahead and rewarm gently before using.)
  6. Preheat (or reduce) the oven to 375° F.
  7. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear until browned on the bottom, 3-4 minutes.
  8. Turn the chicken over and stir in the wine. Place the skillet in the oven and roast 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let rest 5 minutes.

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