Happy Thursday. I don’t know about you, but I could have used the weekend two days ago, it’s been that kind of week. Let’s get right to tonight’s ingredients: chicken and vegetables. This was really just my excuse to be able to test drive a recipe I’ve been thinking about for a while. I came across a recipe for an Italian braised chicken in a white wine sauce served over pasta and my first thought was, I wonder if you could do that with a traditional red sauce? I love chicken cacciatore, but the texture of the chicken leaves a lot to be desired. I could go with a traditional chicken parmesan, but that isn’t quite the same, the meat isn’t permeated with sauce flavor in the same way. This recipe gave me just what I was looking for, a nice textured chicken packed with flavor.
Now for tonight’s recipe:
Braised Italian Chicken
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
- Olive oil
- Dried: basil, oregano, rosemary, cayenne pepper, pepper, salt, thyme
- 6-8 green onions, chopped
- 1 small zucchini cubed
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4-6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 2 tsp crushed garlic or equivalent
- 1/2 cup good red wine
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 14 oz can of diced tomatoes or equivalent (I use unsalted)
- 2-15oz cans of tomato sauce (again, I use unsalted)
- 2 tsp dried basil (or fresh equivalent)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
- Pinch of rosemary
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 10-16 oz of favorite pasta (I like angel hair with this dish)
Bowl, Saucepan, Skillet, Baking dish or Dutch oven
In a bowl, mix together about 2 cups of flour and a good amount of the spices. Wash and dry thighs. Dredge in flour and fry in large skillet in about 1/2 cup of olive oil (I start with skin side down and do not touch it until it moves easily when I nudge it with a fork, then I flip it). When browned on both sides, remove to a plate with paper towels to drain a bit. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and add diced vegetables, cook until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute, then add wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well. Let simmer, covered, on the stovetop while chicken browns.
In baking dish, add enough sauce to come 1/2 way up the side of the baking dish. Nestle chicken in the baking dish, skin side up. Now here is the important part, ladle additional sauce AROUND the chicken as needed, but DO NOT cover the top. Leave enough room for the browned top of the chicken to remain above the sauce. This lets it braise and the skin still stay crispy. Bake, UNCOVERED, for 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, check to make sure the sauce is barely bubbling, if it is boiling, reduce heat to 300 degrees. Chicken is done when it gives easily, but not falling off the bone.
Leave remaining sauce on the stove to simmer on low while the chicken cooks, you’ll probably want extra for the pasta. Prepare pasta just before chicken is done. Serve with salad or green beans and a nice deep red wine.
Prep time is a lot on this meal, so I suggest it for weekends or special guests. I also doubled the sauce and froze 1/2 for another meal.