Skillet Chicken with Kale from the AICR Test Kitchen


As one of the world's foremost cancer research institutes, the American Institute for Cancer Research leads the way in making evidence-based recommendations that promote lifestyle choices among the public that can prevent the development of some cancers. To this end, every other week their test kitchen delivers a new and delicious recipe.

This week: Skillet chicken with kale.

Wondering what to make with your just bought fresh kale and chicken legs and thighs in the freezer? How about cooking these with canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, chicken broth, fresh garlic and Italian seasoning – all staples in the cupboard – for a quick, delicious, one-skillet dinner!

Kale was the most widely eaten green vegetable in Europe until the Middle Ages; then cabbage usurped it. Kale was so commonly consumed in nineteenth century Scotland that kail was used as a term for “dinner.” In fact, when someone is too sick to eat, they are said to be “off one’s kail.” Today, this cruciferous vegetable is one of the most popular greens in the United States because it is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients such as isothiocyanates and flavonoids that lower cancer risk.

Kale is more than just healthy; it is also delicious with a slightly sweet-bitter flavor. Kale combined with tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning flavors otherwise plain-tasting chicken with Mediterranean cuisine qualities – aromatic, rich and earthy. Chicken thighs and legs, though slightly higher in fat, have more flavor than breast meat, even more so when cooked with the bones. Being able to pop the whole skillet creation into the oven makes this dish convenient to cook and easy to serve.

The tender chicken falls off the bones and melts in your mouth, as does the kale. Serve Skillet Chicken with Kale with warm, crusty whole-grain rolls or bread to soak up the delicious vegetable sauce.

Skillet Chicken with Kale

  • 2 Tbsp. olive or canola oil, divided
  • 4 chicken legs (about 1 lb.), skinless
  • 4 chicken thighs (about 1 lb.), skinless
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 package (16 oz.) pre-cut fresh kale, divided
  • ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning, plus ½ tsp.
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) no salt added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 ¾-2 cups low-sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown, 2 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add remaining oil and sauté garlic 30 seconds. Add half the kale and half the salt and sauté about 2 minutes until kale is wilted, stirring constantly. Add remaining kale and salt and cook about 2 minutes until kale is wilted, stirring constantly. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Turn off heat.

Arrange chicken over kale. Spoon broth over chicken. Season chicken with a few more grinds of pepper and remaining Italian seasoning. Cover and bake 55 minutes. (If not using ovenproof skillet, transfer kale mixture to casserole dish, top with chicken, add seasonings, cover and bake.)

In four wide soup or pasta bowls divide kale and top with chicken. If you prefer less broth, save leftover broth for another soup or stew.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 345 calories, 16 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 19 g carbohydrate, 33 g protein, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 464 mg sodium.


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