I am fond of making an easy sauce out of cherry tomatoes by pan-roasting them while I get the rest of dinner ready. I crowd the tomatoes into a roasting pan – not a sheet pan – and cook for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Often I will take the pan of saucy tomatoes out of the oven, add a piece of fish to the pan, spoon the tomatoes over the filet, and return to the oven to finish cooking.

I decided to try this technique with boneless (skinless) chicken thighs, only I sautéed the thighs first on both sides to get a nice brown exterior. When I added the thighs to the roasting pan and spooned the tomatoes over them, I topped with Parmigiano, and popped back in the oven to finish cooking. This was plenty tasty, but the next time I also added a little bit of shredded mozzarella, as I realized I had inadvertently backed into a sort of Chicken Parmigiana (but lighter and without the breading).

Susie Middleton

I can also report that these reheat well. Add a little water to the pan to create steam and cover with foil. Reheat at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.

I like to make a pot of rice to serve with this chicken, but you could also serve them on mashed potatoes or a bed of sautéed spinach.

Serves 3

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 10-ounce containers cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large or 2 medium shallots, peeled and cut into thick rings, ends discarded
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 medium to large boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 1 ¾ pounds total)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons coarsely ground Parmigiano (I like to use a food processor)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons grated mozzarella (packaged, not fresh)
  • Any combination coarsely chopped parsley, basil, mint (or small leaves) to garnish (optional)


1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a 3.5-quart (9 x 13”) roasting pan (or 3.5-quart round braiser - see below), combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the cherry tomato halves, the shallots, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss well to coat. Cook, stirring once or twice, for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are collapsed, shrunken, and starting to brown around the edges and the juices in the pan have reduced a bit (but are not dry). Remove the pan from the oven. (It can hang out for a while if it comes out before your thighs are ready to go in.)

2. Put the chicken thighs in a wide shallow bowl and season generously with salt, pepper, and the Spanish paprika (if using). Add the ½ cup flour and toss the thighs in the flour until they are well-coated on all sides.

3. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add three of the chicken thighs, turn the heat to medium-high and cook until nicely browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the thighs over and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. Transfer the thighs to a plate or to the pan of tomatoes if it is out of the oven.

4. Repeat with the remaining three thighs, adding a spash more olive oil to the pan if necessary.

5. Arrange the thighs in the roasting pan and spoon or scoop the saucy tomatoes and shallots onto each thigh, distributing evenly so the tops of the thighs are mostly covered. Top each thigh with a tablespoon or so of mozzarella and a tablespoon or so of Parmigiano.

6. Return to the oven and cook for about 12 to 14 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and lightly golden and the thighs are cooked through. Serve garnished with the herbs if desired.


About that pan...

Le Creuset

I love my Le Creuset 3.5-quart round enameled cast-iron braiser for this dish. The cast iron conducts and holds heat so well and the round shape plays a part in capturing moisture in the pan. This pan has many uses, but it is a real investment (mine was a special present). Put it on your wish list and keep an eye out for Le Creuset sales! However, for this dish you can easily use a 9” x 13” (3.5-quart) Pyrex or ceramic roasting pan.