These Italian-inspired Chicken Breasts with Tomato-Olive Sauce are quick to prepare for every day meals and elegant enough for entertaining, too. The flavor of the fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and olives intensifies while cooking, resulting in a delicious, colorful sauce. (Click on the photo below to see the video!)
I make it often, not just because Robert and I both love the Mediterranean flavors, but also because I tend to have these ingredients on hand. The sauce is scrumptious, and has a bit of a kick to it too!
I love to cook chicken because it’s so versatile, and always have a few breasts in the freezer. Now, is it just me, or are chicken breast halves getting larger and larger these days? I find that, most of the time, one breast half is plenty to serve two people. The problem is how to cut the breast half in half and still have the resulting pieces look like a chicken breast, not just a square lump of chicken meat. It’s actually very easy, and I show you how to do it here.
This recipe calls for 4 large chicken breast halves – which will make 8 breast pieces. I would plan on serving 6 people (not 8) with this amount of chicken because this dish is so delicious, some of your guests will want seconds!
Once you have the breasts prepared and ready to cook, the recipe comes together quickly. You start by seasoning them with a spicy mixture of cayenne pepper, black pepper and paprika. Then you sauté them in a bit of olive oil until beginning to brown.
The breasts are removed from the pan and set aside, so you can make the sauce in the same pan (Robert loves this aspect – less dishes to wash!). Garlic, onion, tomatoes, olives and capers are sautéed in olive oil and chicken broth, then finished with a bit of oregano and butter.
Make sure to put any accumulated juices from the cooked chicken breasts back into the sauce before serving. So easy to prepare, beautiful to present and full of flavor. What more could you ask for?
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- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 1/4 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes (see Note)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 16 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 teaspoons capers (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt, to taste
- Butterfly each chicken breast and cut in half to make 8 cutlets (see Tip).
- In a small bowl, combine the cayenne pepper, black pepper and paprika; rub over both sides of chicken (save any leftover for another use).
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add 4 chicken cutlets and sauté until beginning to brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165 degrees. Transfer to a large platter; cover and keep warm. Repeat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 4 cutlets (don’t clean out the skillet).
- In the same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for around 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions are softened.
- Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, oregano, olives and capers (if using); cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and ground pepper. Stir any accumulated juices from the chicken on the platter into the sauce. Spoon sauce over top of chicken breasts to serve.
Note on tomatoes: When fresh tomatoes aren’t in season, for more flavor substitute 1 (15-ounce) can, drained.
Variation: Sauce is also delicious with sautéed tuna steaks.
Make ahead: Chicken and sauce can be cooked earlier in the day, stored separately in the refrigerator. Put sauce in a large skillet with chicken breasts and cook over medium heat just until hot.