I tried another recipe from The Pioneer Woman and another chicken recipe at that. The first, a cajun chicken pasta, I made a lot of changes to, and frankly, wasn’t overly thrilled by my version. This one, I made only a few minor changes and… I wasn’t overly thrilled. Sigh.
It seemed so promising; chicken, browned in butter & olive oil then slowly braised in my home-canned heirloom tomatoes, a nice Pinot Noir, plenty of fresh, farmer’s market garlic, and CSA basil dried last summer. It was so much more fabulous in my imagination, but this was strangely bland. How could it be bland with a whole head of garlic, you say? I don’t really know. Maybe the garlic should have been roasted in oil first; maybe I needed a more acidic white wine (or some vinegar) in the braise, maybe it just didn’t translate well to boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of dark meat, skin-on chicken thighs. I can’t even think of anything to do to improve the recipe (that doesn’t take it out of the realm of this recipe); if I can’t get good flavor out of these ingredients, something is fundamentally wrong.
I want to like Ree’s recipes; I really do. But I’m 0 for 2 now. I’d better chose the next one very carefully!
Adapted from Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic by Ree at The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Chicken Braised in Tomato & Garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp clarified butter (or regular butter)
- about 2 lb boneless chicken, or 3 – 4 lb chicken pieces with bones
- 1/2 cup wine (I used a Pinot Noir; white or red will work)
- 2, 16-oz cans tomatoes (I used home-canned fire-roasted tomatoes)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled but left whole (about 16 cloves)
- 1 lb pasta, for serving
- grated hard cheese, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Brown chicken pieces, in batches (do not crowd the pan), about 2 – 3 minutes per side, then remove chicken to a clean plate.
- Add wine to the Dutch oven to deglaze; scrape up any browned bits. Add tomatoes, including juice, salt, pepper, basil and garlic. Stir to combine, and mash up larger tomato pieces with a wooden spoon. Return chicken to the pot, along with any meat juices. Make sure chicken is mostly covered in liquid (if not, add more tomatoes, wine, or a bit of chicken stock). Cover the pot and place in the oven to cook until garlic has browned slightly, sauce has reduced slightly, and chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water for pasta. When the chicken has only about 10 minutes left to cook, boil pasta until al dente, drain, and reserve.
- Remove chicken from oven; taste sauce and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve chicken and sauce over cooked pasta; top with grated cheese.
Serves 6 – 8.
- The original recipe called for chicken legs (8) with skin. The dark meat and skin may have resulted in a more flavorful dish, but as I’m not a big fan of dark meat, I went with chicken breasts. Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts would work as well. The original recipe also called for a ‘good amount’ of fresh herbs; I did not have any on hand so I went with dried basil. The original also called for only 8 cloves garlic (no such thing as too much garlic in my world. In fact, I think it could have used more).
- The dish can be 100% local by using all clarified butter instead of olive oil and serving over homemade pasta.
Up to 5 days refrigerated. I store any leftover pasta separately.
Year-round, but this pantry staple dish is useful in winter.