Braised Italian Chicken intro Sometimes the easiest meals, are the best ones.  This recipe isn’t fussy.  It requires just a few fresh staples, and a couple that are in most people’s pantries.  I’ve had this idea in my head for months, and a few weeks ago I finally started playing around with it and it didn’t take long to reach perfection.  This simple method of cooking is one of my go-to’s.  It involves searing some meat (in this case, chicken) adding some liquids and flavors, and then letting the oven do the work.  The result is similar to something that’s been in a slow-cooker all day; chicken that is so moist and tender that it just falls apart, and a sauce so flavorful and rich, you’d think it had simmered for hours.  But it takes only 60 minutes.  This type of dinner is one of my favorites because I can prep and cook a little and then once it goes into the oven I have time to set the table, do the dishes, and get everything cleaned up before we sit down to eat so that after dinner, clean-up is quick and easy.

This recipe is specifically for boneless, skinless thighs.  Don’t ask me about substitutions, just use the thighs.  They are specifically suited for this method of cooking, and the meat adds both flavor and body for the sauce.  Most packs of boneless, skinless thighs are between 1.5 and 2 lbs.  Shoot for something a little over 1.5 at least, since you’ll trim a little off.  I shoot for something between 1.6-1.8 lbs.

Chicken Thighs

Even boneless, skinless meat sometimes needs to be trimmed up a bit.  To prep your meat, grab a pair of kitchen shears, or simply a clean pair of scissors (emphasis on the clean, and put them in the dishwasher when you’re done.)  Set up a few layers of paper towels on a plate next to the sink and start running cold water.  Rinse each piece under cold water and use the scissors to snip off any remaining largish pieces of fat.  After each piece has been rinsed and trimmed, place on paper towels to blot dry.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.

Salted Chicken Thighs

You just need a few basic fresh ingredients here.  Even when my cupboards are bare, I usually have garlic, onions, and a carrot (or at least baby carrots for my kids).

Onion, Garlic, Carrot

Heat up a large dutch oven on the stove top.  Don’t stress out here if you don’t have a giant Le Creuset.  They’re beautiful, and high quality, but they also will cost you several hundred dollars.  You can find quality enamel coated cookware, that cooks just as well as those expensive brands, for under $100 (my favorite was purchased for $50 at Walmart years ago), which is a great deal.  A large pot like this is a great investment for your kitchen; it will last for years and can be quite the workhorse.  For half the year I’d say my big 6 qt Dutch Oven gets used more than any other pot in my kitchen.  Check out Lodge Brand for a great deal in fun colors.  You can also usually find them at stores like Walmart, Target, and even Costco usually has one in stock regularly.  I also see them often at stores like TJ Maxx/Home Goods, Marshalls, etc.

One trick, when you’re using any pan to sear meat, is that you must heat up your pan first.  It needs to be hot before you add your fat (in this case, oil) and before you add your meat.  If you place your meat on cold, not only will it not get a nice brown crust, but it will most likely end up sticking.  So once your pot is hot, swirl in some olive oil.  Our Extra Virgin Olive oil is a perfect fit here, and our Basil or Garlic is even better.

Basil Olive Oil

After searing the chicken pieces for a few minutes on each side, remove them and put them on a plate.  The chicken will have given off some fat and juice, plenty to cook your onions in.

Diced Onion

For sweetness, you’ll also add some shredded carrot.  The carrot will just melt right into the sauce and you won’t even notice it- we’re only using it to balance the flavor and add necessary sweetness to the sauce.

Shredding Carrots

You’ll also add a generous amount of garlic.  Once those veggies are softened a bit, dump in a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of tomato sauce.

Tomato Cans

To keep this quick and easy, the only seasoning we’re using is Italian.  It already has basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, marjoram, savory and thyme, all in one little bottle.

Italian Seasoning

and also a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. That’s it!  It takes less than 10 minutes to cook and dump everything in there.

Italian Chicken in Pot

Bring that mix up to a simmer and then add the chicken back in.

Italian Chicken Before Cooking

Pop a lid on your pot and stick it in the oven for an hour.

Dutch Oven

While it’s cooking you can prep anything you want to serve it on.  Obviously it’s good on pasta (this is one of my favorite cuts, they look like little roses!)  But it’s also good over rice, quinoa, steamed veggies, or on toasted hoagies or slider buns.


In the oven, the sauce becomes rich and flavorful,

Italian Chicken after Cooking

And the chicken is so moist and tender that it falls apart with a fork.  I like to break it into large chunks.

Shredded Italian Chicken

The last thing you’l need is one more drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a handful of fresh basil.

Our Best Bites Basil

Stir it all in and you’re done.

Basil in Italian Chicken

Before serving (on noodles, or sandwiches, or anything) give it a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Wedge

This would be extra yummy with some of Kate’s Make Ahead Garlic Bread!
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Our Best Bites Braised Italian Chicken Dinner




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