Grilled Chicken over Broccoli with Tomato Gravy

Grilled Chicken over Broccoli with Tomato Gravy

Words and Recipe by Charles Hunter III

I’m naturally drawn to seasons with cooler weather, and I love the deep colored palette of vegetables that they bring with them—but nothing quite compares to the vibrant bounty that summer brings. I consider my parents blessed to have had children who adored vegetables and ate them frequently with no complaints. My only real aversion was okra when it was stewed verses fried because I was a ‘texture kid’, and couldn’t bring myself to appreciate the mucilage that was released during cooking. But I’ve matured quite a bit since those years, and I have developed a penchant for okra prepared in many ways. 

My grandmother always had fresh plentiful produce during the summer months. She used her front porch, and the back bedroom as storage because it stayed cooler in those areas of the house. You could walk into the screen porch, and there was no doubt that the table would be adorned with ruby red tomatoes, sprawling heads of broccoli, bags of golden corn, and beans galore. If she wasn’t growing it herself in the garden behind the house, her friends who gardened were dropping off overflow from their gardens. We would have cheesy broccoli casseroles, broccoli cheese soup, or just steamed broccoli with butter, and seasoned salt. I remember coming home from school and heating up a bag of frozen broccoli because it was one of my favorite vegetables. 

The dinner tables were always graced with thick slices of summer tomatoes and sweet onions, from beefsteak tomatoes to heirlooms. We rarely went without tomato sandwiches ladened with strokes of mayo and generously doused in salt and pepper. Sometimes with a chunky slice or two of sharp cheddar; always from the block, never shredded. This recipe is perfect for summer, because you have easy access to all of these ingredients—they will be plentiful at the farmer’s market. The broccoli is sweet, and tangy. The chicken is full of flavor, lightly smoky from the grill. The tomato gravy is beautifully rich and luscious. All the components are complimentary, and you can even finish the plate with a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness of the tomato gravy. 

Grilled Chicken over Broccoli with Tomato Gravy


2 chicken breasts, pounded

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ fresh ground black pepper

¾ red pepper flakes

¾ teaspoon brown sugar

3-4 cloves minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

Broccoli & Red Onions

8-9 ounces broccoli florets

½-¾ red onion, julienned

1 tablespoon honey

½ tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon chili flakes

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

Tomato Gravy 

1-11-ounce tomato, chopped

1 ½ ounces of olive oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 cloves minced garlic

2 ounces heavy cream 

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper 


  1. In a plastic bag, or bowl, add the chicken, and all of the marinade ingredients. Massage the chicken in the bag/bowl to coat it. Pound it to ¾ of an inch thickness. Or place the chicken between sheets of plastic wrap, or parchment paper. Heat the grill pan over medium high heat. Pan sear both sides of the chicken for 2-3 minutes until the grill marks have set. Finish chicken in a 350°, or lid the pan, reduce the heat, and let them finish on the stovetop. Set aside. 

  2. Slice the red onions, and place them in a heated skillet. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the broccoli. Let the broccoli cook for 4-5 minutes, and then add the remaining ingredients. Cook until broccoli Is tender, and onions are caramelized, another 5-6 minutes. 

  3. In the saucier pan, add all of the tomato gravy ingredients, except the heavy cream. Let it cook down for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to caramelize, and develop some colour on the bottom of the pan. Scrape it as you go to reincorporate back into the sauce. Adjust your heat accordingly, it shouldn’t be burnt. When the tomatoes are nice and melty, and the sauce looks rustic, and broken, add the heavy cream, stir vigorously to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.