½cupchicken brothsee notes for more intense balsamic flavor
2tablespoonsbrown sugarsee notes for substitutes
1tablespoonsliced basilplus more to serve
salt + pepperto taste
For the caprese chicken
2cupscherry tomatoeshalved; about 1 pint
4ouncessliced mozzarella cheeseOR 1 cup shredded
Marinate chicken: Combine marinade ingredients in a 7x11 inch baking dish. Whisk well, then add chicken, turning a few times in the marinade to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prep: Once marinating time is up, preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from refrigerator and uncover, discard half of marinade if desiring less sauce/a less runny sauce (see notes for tip). Add tomatoes to dish and stir around in balsamic marinade to cover, then arrange around and under chicken.
Bake: Bake chicken in hot oven for 20-25 minutes, or until almost done (exact baking time depends on thickness of chicken!).
Finish dish: Carefully remove casserole dish from oven (it's hot, use oven gloves!). Evenly top chicken with mozzarella. Bake for another 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve with fresh basil.
Brown sugar: If you don’t want to use sugar, you can also use honey or maple syrup instead.
Mozzarella: You can use 1 cup shredded mozzarella instead of sliced. Double the cheese for extra cheesiness.
Garlic: Feel free to use ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder in place of the fresh.
More flavor: Add 1 red onion, thinly sliced, to the dish with the tomatoes for some extra flavor.
Chicken broth: Skip the broth for a more intense balsamic taste. Do not discard any marinade before baking (see notes in recipe card at the bottom).
Chicken: This also works with chicken thighs, the baking time will be 35-40 minutes for bone-in thighs and around 25-30 minutes for boneless thighs. Always check your chicken with a food thermometer to ensure it is hot enough for safe consumption (165°F or 74°C).
I will often skip discarding half of the marinade. Instead, I drain the balsamic sauce from the dish after baking (remove the chicken first and keep it warm). I quickly boil the balsamic sauce in a wide pan on the stove for 4-5 minutes in order to reduce it to a thicker consistency. My family loves this tossed with pasta.
For an intense balsamic flavor (my recipe is flavorful but not full-on vinegary to keep it kid-friendly), skip the chicken broth and only use balsamic vinegar. Do not discard any marinade before baking.
Depending on the size/thickness of the chicken, your baking time may be little more or less than the recipe calls for. Check your chicken regularly to make sure you’re cooking it to the appropriate internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Use a casserole dish at least 7×11 inches in size. A smaller one will not correctly cook the dish. If your dish is very large, make sure you leave enough balsamic marinade in there to easily cover the bottom of the dish.
Serve the chicken immediately once it’s done, else the cheese hardens and is less pleasant to eat.
About baking in the marinade: I’m a stickler about food hygiene, and I never re-use marinade for additional pieces of meat. But I’m perfectly fine with this way of preparing the chicken, as the chicken is only in the marinade for a short time and then gets baked for an extended period. This means the marinade gets fully cooked.If you are uncomfortable with this way of using the marinade, please feel absolutely free to discard the marinade you used to flavor the chicken, and make a fresh batch for baking the chicken.