Inspired by the bold, zesty flavors found in Peruvian cuisine, this skillet chicken with rustic tomato sauce is just the recipe to tantalized the tastebuds. Prepared with spiced and seared chicken breast cutlets, nestled into a simple sauce made with lots of sliced onions, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and spices, this rustic skillet chicken recipe is mouthwatering served with either white rice or a side of roasted or fried potatoes!
A Saucy Skillet Chicken Recipe with Peruvian-Inspired Flair
Living in Los Angeles, my hubby and I love to sample the various cuisines that our colorful city has to offer.
A number of years back, we found a quaint little hole-in-the-wall Peruvian restaurant that served all sorts of beloved dishes of Peru, and I fell in love with a dish called lomo saltado.
Lomo saltado is made with strips of beef sirloin which are stir-fried with lots of onions, tomatoes and French fries, served over white rice and typically topped with lots of cilantro. Lomo refers to "loin", and the term saltado (to jump) refers to the stir fry style of the dish, perhaps because the meat "jumps around" in the pan.
The lomo saltado I had for the first time at the restaurant was so vibrant, so saucy, and hit all those irresistible flavor notes for me!
Wanting to experiment a bit with those flavors, I used it as my inspiration to prepare this rustic dish using chicken in place of beef, making it a pollo (chicken) saltado.
In my recipe I use chicken breast cutlets seasoned in spices and seared off in a hot pan until golden-brown, then nestled into a rustic tomato sauce brimming with lots of caramelized sliced onions, garlic, lime and cilantro.
This skillet chicken recipe is saucy, warming, simple and zesty, and absolutely scrumptious served over top of rice or with roasted potatoes...or even a combination of both!
My Skillet Chicken Recipe with Rustic Tomato Sauce
Saucy, bold dishes really are fantastic options any time of year, but when the weather turns cold, they tend to bump up my inner thermostat and warm me up from within. And I love that.
This skillet chicken recipe does just that, and I appreciate that it's fairly quick and easy to prep, yet packed with rich, earthy flavors kissed with just the right amount of spiciness.
Because I really enjoy the tomato and onion sauce with added fresh cilantro in lomo saltado, I'm taking my queue from that to create the rustic sauce to nestle the seared chicken breast cutlets in, for lots of extra flavor and coziness.
It's very quick cooking, as are the chicken breast cutlets which simply get a quick sear after a light dusting in spices and a touch of flour for a bit of an outer crust.
Once these two components are prepped, they're put together and served over fresh, hot white rice, or roasted, or even fried potatoes.
Here's a glance at my skillet chicken recipe with rustic tomato sauce: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I season and sear off my chicken breast cutlets in a large skillet, and set those aside.
- In that same skillet, I prepare my rustic tomato sauce with lots of sliced onions, fresh Campari tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic, fresh cilantro and lime juice, and allow the sauce to simmer for few moments, just until the tomatoes break down and become saucy and delicious.
- I then return the seared chicken to the skillet, smothering them in that zesty tomato sauce.
- To serve, I spoon the chicken over white rice, or serve with a side of roasted potatoes or fried potatoes, or both, if desired. I top with extra cilantro and serve with lime, plus extra red pepper flakes on the side for an extra kick.
Skillet Chicken with Rustic Tomato Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
This skillet chicken made with a rustic, Peruvian-inspired tomato and onion sauce is ultra cozy served with rice or roasted potatoes!
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 287 calories (per serving, chicken and sauce only)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Avocado oil or olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press, divided use
- Zest and juice of 1 lime, and extra wedges for garnish
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large white onions, quartered and sliced
- 1 pound Campari tomatoes, chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup, packed cilantro leaves, chopped roughly, plus extra for garnish
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list to have ready and organized for use.
- Slice your Chicken breasts lengthwise to create 4 thinner cutlets, then again in half (vertically) to create 8 smaller pieces of chicken.
- Place the pieces of chicken into a bowl, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle in a generous pinch or two of salt and pepper, the paprika, and two of the pressed garlic cloves, plus the zest and juice of the lime, and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight if doing ahead.
- Add the flour to a large bowl or plate, and lightly press each piece of the chicken into it to lightly coat in the flour.
- Place a large skillet or pan over medium high heat, and add in enough oil for a very shallow fry, about ½ cup. Once the oil is hot, add in a batch of the chicken to cook until golden-brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and rest on a plate, repeating with remaining chicken.
- Using the same pan/skillet, wipe out any excess oil and residue from the flour so it's fairly clean. Place the skillet over medium-high heat, and add in about 3 tablespoons of the oil.
- Once hot, add in the sliced onions and saute those until they become softened and golden-brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add in a sprinkle of the salt and pepper, and then add in the chopped tomatoes, and cook those with the onions until they begin to break down and soften, releasing their juices, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Next, add in the remaining 4 cloves of pressed garlic, the pinch of red pepper flakes, and the chopped cilantro, and stir together. Check to see if another pinch or two of salt and pepper is needed, and finish with the squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Turn off the heat.
- Nestle the chicken pieces back into the sauce, smothering them in the rustic tomato sauce. Serve over rice and/or potatoes, if desired, and garnish with a little extra cilantro leaves, lime wedges and red pepper flakes, as needed.
Tips & Tidbits for my Skillet Chicken with Rustic Tomato Sauce recipe:
- Chicken breasts cut lengthwise to create thinner cutlets: You could certainly just buy chicken breast cutlets here, but I prefer to get a couple of larger, organic chicken breasts that I slice in half lengthwise to create four thinner cutlets. They sear up nice and quick, and create the perfect portion for a serving.
- Fresh Campari tomatoes, or any that are ripe and juicy: Sweet and tangy Campari tomatoes are my favorite pick for this recipe because they break down beautifully, creating lots of natural juice, but ripe Roma tomatoes work really well here too. If you cannot find any tomatoes that are ripe or in season, you can sub canned whole tomatoes, and roughly chop them into large chunks, using a small amount of their juices, if needed.
- Make things more or less spicy: I've kept the spice level fairly low as written in the recipe, but I tend to add more red pepper flakes to my dish since I like things on the spicy side. You can add more red pepper flakes to your recipe if you also like things more spicy, or use less (or none at all) if you like it more mild.
- Terrific sides to serve alongside: Using the inspiration from pollo saltado, I love to serve this skillet chicken recipe over rice, as well as with a side of roasted or fried potatoes on the side. It's nice and filling, and really delicious!
Craving more cozy and zesty recipes? Check out this Sweet Potato Bowl with Carne Asada, this Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Chickpeas, this Albondigas Soup, this Moroccan Chicken Wrap, this Chicken Burrito Bowl, this Lemongrass Chicken, or this Harissa Chicken!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2016, and has been updated with even more love!