Braised Balsamic Chicken

Oven Braised, Crockpot or Stove Top:

Braised Balsamic Chicken

UPDATE 3/3/12:  I made this recipe again this week, and it was still just as easy and delicious! I've added some new pictures.

Tonight I tried a new recipe for oven braised Balsamic Chicken, that would work just as well in the Crockpot.  I developed this recipe by using a few other recipes as inspiration.  It's a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy.  It tastes a little bit like a dressed up barbecue chicken. Many of the elements of barbecue sauce are present: tomatoes, onions, vinegar, sugar and spice.  Kinda like a Southern vinegar barbecue chicken went on vacation in Italy, and came back with some new accessories.  With some fashion tips from her friend Swiss Steak.

I need a vacation.

The whole thing was demolished, with everyone having second helpings. The whole family enjoyed it, and it is definitely being added to the rotation.  We ate this with basmati rice which was delicious, as would be pasta, potatoes or polenta.

Oven 350
Dutch Oven
1 Hour

1 Chicken, Cut In Pieces
2-4 Onions
1 Can Stewed Tomatoes, Crushed
1/2 C. Balsamic Vinegar
2 T. Brown Sugar or Honey
3-4 T. Cooking Oil
Pinch Marjoram
Pinch Thyme
Pinch Basil
Garlic Powder

  • Rinse chicken and season as desired with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Rub lightly into chicken and set aside for about 30 minutes.
    Caramelizing the onions.
  • Caramelize the onions by slicing or dicing onions as desired. I like to "French cut" the onions. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sprinkle lightly with salt. I have recently learned this trick to help caramelize the onions, and found it really works. Cover the pan and let the onions sweat and begin to brown on the outside.
  • When the onions have started to brown, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and continue to cook until the onions change color to golden brown, while stirring occasionally, then remove from pan and place in the bottom of a Dutch oven or Crockpot. Raise the temperature on the pan and add the chicken pieces to the oil remaining in the pan, and cook on both sides until lightly browned.
  • While the chicken is browning, lightly crush the stewed tomatoes as you add them to the onions and stir together. When the chicken has finished browning, place the pieces on top of the onion and tomato mixture.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, 2 T. brown sugar, and a pinch each of marjoram, thyme and basil. Continue to cook for a couple minutes until sugar is dissolved, then pour over chicken.
  • Cover the chicken and bake at 350 for one hour. For the Crockpot, cook on high for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours. Remove chicken. Ladle the sauce onto a serving platter and top with chicken.

1. The quality of balsamic vinegar you use will influence the flavor of this dish.  A high quality vinegar will be thicker and sweeter - you may not need additional sweetener.  I used Pompeian Balsamic Vinegar, which is reasonably priced at regular grocery stores.
Fa caldo qui, o è perchè ci sei tu?

2. I like to use chicken pieces from a whole chicken. As the chicken cooks, the juices will mix with the vinegar and veggies to make a nice sauce. The bones add lots of flavor! If you decide to use boneless, skinless breasts instead, you should add about 1/2 C. of chicken broth to the sauce.

3. Seasoning the chicken while still wet from rinsing and then setting aside to rest gives chicken more flavor. This technique is known as "dry brining."

4. For this recipe, I don't actually cook the onions until they have fully caramelized like an onion jam, only until they are a nice golden brown all the way through, and nicely sweetened, but they should be more caramelized than just sauteed onions.

5. When using the Crockpot, it won't take the 3-4 hours on high that is suggested n many recipes, since it has already been partially cooked. The chicken pieces should stay intact, rather than falling off the bones. You don't want shredded chicken with bones in the sauce.

Saute the seasoned chicken until golden brown.

Place the chicken in the dutch oven over the onions and
 tomatoes. Pour the vinegar and herbs over all.

After baking at 350 for one hour.

Close-up of the onions and tomatoes on the serving platter.

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