Coach Cristina’s Creamy Christmas Chicken Recipe
Tis the season to be jolly… fa la la la laaa… I don’t know about you guys, but the last thing I want to do during the holidays is spend more time in the kitchen, especially after all the baking of cookies and treats. I especially don’t want to spend unnecessary time in the kitchen when I’m entertaining guests.
I am super fond of my slow cooker and my Instant Pot during these times. However, if I can find a one-pot wonder that makes for super simple clean up and is flavorful and healthful that my picky eaters will enjoy, I am always down. This meal hits the brief perfectly!
I have found for this particular recipe, chicken thighs work best, and not just chicken thighs, but bone-in thighs. They’re a good bit juicier and more flavorful than breasts and tenders, but they’re still leaner thanks to the lack of skin. They’re also typically more affordable. If you have ever used thighs in your recipes, you can use them in much the same way you use breasts. As a bonus, they hold up well to marinades and heavier sauces.
Aside from the creamy white parmesan sauce, I wanted something red and green to really make this a festive dish.
Spinach seemed like a sensible choice. I mean, as the OG Superfood, this leafy green tops the charts as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. That’s because one cup (30 grams) of raw spinach provides 16% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A plus 120% of the DV for vitamin K—all in just 7 calories.
Sometimes I like to toss in some roasted red peppers, but I wanted something with a little more punch, so I decided on sundried tomatoes. Sundried tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In particular, sundried tomatoes are rich in the potent antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene, of course, has gained a lot of interest as it may support prostate health as well as potentially help protect the skin from sun damage.
Don’t get me wrong here. This recipe can be made any time of year, but this is one my friends and family without a doubt request at this time of year, so it usually makes an appearance at one or more of my holiday gatherings.
- 2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 1 jar sundried tomatoes
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 cups baby spinach
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Sear chicken thighs for approximately two minutes on each side in a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat and continue cooking. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
- Add shallot to skillet and sauté until translucent.
- Stir in the sundried tomatoes and red pepper flakes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add cream, and bring to a simmer.
- Add spinach, and when it wilts down, add the Parmesan; continue stirring.
- Return chicken to the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes, spooning the sauce over it.
- Remove from heat.
- Enjoy with your favorite sides.