Baked Chicken with Bell Peppers and Garlic | Pui la Cuptor cu Ardei si Usturoi

My mom cooked this delicious dish a while back, and I loved the subtle garlic hints in the sauce and the juiciness of the meat. The recipe is simple, and the effect is grand. I've just prepared it for guests this past weekend, and got the ultimate compliment: folks using pieces of bread to not waste any single drop of the sauce in their plates.



Ingredients:
 - Five or six chicken legs (drumsticks or thighs)
 - One bell pepper (or one cup of colorful bell pepper slices)
 - Eight ounces of tomato sauce
 - Four tablespoons of vegetable oil
 - Half a head of garlic, sliced
 - Spices: salt (half a teaspoon), pepper (half a teaspoon), thyme (half a teaspoon), paprika (half a teaspoon, optional)
 - Quarter cup of finely chopped parsley


Preparation:
 - Preheat the oven to 375F.
 - Coat a pan with oil. Add half of the tomato sauce, the chicken pieces, then the other half of the tomato sauce on top. Make sure the chicken pieces are nicely covered. Add the sliced bell pepper in between.
 - Sprinkle the pepper, thyme, and paprika. Save the salt for later.
 - Cover with aluminum foil, thoroughly; this helps preserve the juices. Bake for 45 minutes.
 - Remove the foil. Add the sliced garlic. Baste everything with the liquid in the pan. Add salt. Bake for another 20 minutes.
 - Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top.


Presentation:
 - Serve the dish as it comes out from the oven (it already features a great variety of colors: the red from the tomato sauce, the green from the parsley, and the color from the bell pepper slices).
 - Serve hot alongside mashed potatoes or pasta, and possibly accompanied by pickles (Romanian style).

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