This Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach is one easy dish that I love to cook when I don’t have much time. It’s a dish that’s ready in one hour or even less. You can serve this over steamed rice or your favorite aldente pasta with a side of some nice Homemade Dinner Rolls or any bread of your choice.
This recipe was inspired by my One Pan Creamy Tuscan Shrimp which I love so much to the point that I’ve decided to make a variation of it. I did some small changes because I don’t have sun-dried tomato, instead I used fresh cherry tomatoes and it turned out wonderful. The taste of the simmered tomatoes and the creamy sauce were a match made in heaven. It reminded me of Rose pasta sauce, you know the tomato base sauce with tomato sauce? Something like that but this one uses fresh tomato. Since we’re using chicken for this recipe, let’s discuss briefly how to properly cook it
Pan Seared Chicken
Chicken is one of the easiest and simplest meat to cook. It cooks faster than beef of pork and it’s tasty and flavourful but when not cooked properly it could be dry and rubbery. As simple as it may seem, a lot of us sometimes ended with dry chicken, but following this simple rule could help you avoid ending in that path. This recipe calls for searing the chicken this means cooking it in high heat with less oil. Here’s how some tips on how you get a nice crispy juicy seared chicken.
Frozen is a NO, NO
Make sure to have the chicken thawed before pan searing it. A frozen chicken takes longer to cook and it produces water as it cooks which will prevent the chicken from getting a nice seared. You want the outside nicely browned and slightly crispy.
Wash the chicken and use a paper towel to pat it dry, the dryer it is the better because the spices will stick better. Then again, less water means crispier chicken.
Spice it Up
Spices, spices. This is even more important if you are serving the pan seared chicken on its own. Meaning to say it will not be simmered in sauce like this recipe, or no sauce will be drizzle on top when you serve it. Since chicken breast are normally thick, the taste will only be coming mostly from the outside and the seasonings coated on the chicken.
This is a must if you want to get a nice seared on the chicken. I like to use my cast iron pan because it holds the heat better and longer but a regular pan would work too. If you have a non stick pan use it, that will give the chicken protection so that it doesn’t stick. If you are using a regular stainless pan, it is even more important that the pan is hot to avoid sticking. So, hot pan please.
Leave it Alone
It’s tempting to peek and flip the chicken while its cooking but don’t do that. Leave it alone for at least 5 – 8 minutes in medium heat and flip only once, The time depends on how thick the chicken breast. Instead of flipping to check if it is done, pay attention to the color of the chicken. Once the meat starts to lighten half way through, it’s time to flip it. Cook the other side the same way you cook the first side. No flipping until the remaining half of the potion turned white, which means it is already cook. There shouldn’t be any traces of raw color in the chicken. If you really want to be sure I it’s cooked, you can use a cooking thermometer, the center should be at least 165F.
Once the chicken has been pan seared, set it aside and start preparing the sauce. The sauce is a creamy tomato based sauce using fresh cherry tomatoes. You can use other kind of tomatoes just make sure they are ripe so that you get more juice out of them. Use the same pan that you cooked the chicken with and add the butter. Swirl and stir and wait for it to melt fully. We are going to make a ‘roux’ to thicken the sauce. Once melted, add the flour and continously stir, it will be slightly lumpy but will be smoother once you add the milk. Add in the milk and continously stir, this is very important so avoid creating lumps. Add the broth, tomatoes and garlic and simmer. Easy breezy, right? Now scroll down further to get to the ingredients and summarized steps.
- 1 large boneless chicken breast
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/4 cream or milk
- 1/2 cup broth
- 1/4 cup Cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- Prepare the Chicken: Wash teh chicken and dry using a paper towel. Add 1/8 tsp of salt and pepper on botth sides of the chicke.
- Pan Seared: Add oil in a hot pan and transfer the chicken. Leave for about 5 – 8 minutes without flipping. Once the color of the chicken cahnges half way through, flip and cook the other side. Do the same and let cook for 5 – 8 minutes until the chicken is no longer translucent. The length of time could also vary depending on how thick or big the chicken. As soon the the color of the chicken change take the chicken out of the pan while you make the sauce. You don’t want to over cook the chicken as itt will dry out.
- Make the Roux: Using the same pan, add butter and wait for it to fully melt, stir as needed. Add flour and continously stir, the mixture will be lumpy at first but will be smoother once you add the milk/cream. Add the milk/cream and stir continously until smooth. Add chicken broth, garlic and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes or until just reduced to the consistency that you like.
- Finishing Touch: Return the chicken to the pan and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as desired. Cover the pan and once spinach is wilted, remove the cover and stop the heat.
Creamy Tuscan Shrimp, another variation of the same recipe.
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