Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pass the Dutchie: Chicken Provençal

My version of Chicken Provençal is sure to become an entertaining favorite!

I often will find the most strange refrains running amok in my head nearly driving me bonkers. Sometimes it's the chorus to "It's a Small World"… Sometimes it's the "Umpah, Loompah!" song. I can never tell what will set it off. Or what tune I will fall victim to.

As I was gathering the ingredients for this week's Friday night dinner – the first in my new dutch oven – "Pass the Dutchie" was the one caught in my brain. 

"Pass the dutchie on the left-hand side. Pass the dutchie on the left-hand side."

And there it lived. Just that one line, going around and around and around in my brain…

But this time, I didn't mind because I was happily gathering ingredients for Chicken Provençal, the recipe I landed on to break in my new deliciously red dutchie of my very own.

I've been wanting a Dutch oven for almost as long as I've lived out on my own, which, ahem!, is going on 21 years now. I've spent almost that same amount of time lusting after the one from Le Creuset. Even at Amazon, a 5 1/2 quart lovely was only a dollar less than Williams-Sonoma.

Then my good friend Darlene over at my burning kitchen wrote about her new Dutch oven and the obsession was refueled. Only this time, Darlene offered me an alternative: this lovely one made by Lodge and at a more affordable price. Since I still own and regularly use two Lodge products – a griddle and an 8" frying pan – that I got when I moved into my first apartment, I know that I can depend on the quality of the cast iron. To be fair and give full disclosure, I have read a few reviews complaining that the enamel sometimes chips off but I will deal with that if and when that happens. For now, I'm basking in a state of bliss over being newly in possession of yet another long desired kitchen gadget.

I have made Chicken Provençal a few times now but always in my slow cooker using a recipe from local cookbook author Lynn Alley. Her book is lovely and I enjoyed the recipe but as most adventurous cooks are prone to do, I followed precisely the first time then tweaked with it to my taste the second time. 

The following recipe is my modifications after perusing several different recipes for this yummy chicken dish. Let me say now though, that I'll be adding one more change for next time: chicken thighs with bone in rather than the boneless breasts I had on had and used here. I think the thighs would scrumptiously fall apart after the baking time adding so much more flavor to the dish. 

Here we go: Preheat your oven to 350º.


What you'll need: chicken, olive oil, crushed tomato, tomato paste, olives, flour, oregano, ground thyme, herbs de provence, onion, garlic, lemon, parsley, your favorite dry white wine.

A note on cooking with wine: please don't use that bottle you opened last week and didn't particularly care for. If you don't consider it good enough to drink with your meal, definitely don't use it in your meal. Remember, the quality of ingredients going in is directly related to the quality of the finished dish.


Next, put a couple tablespoons of oil in your dutch oven and while it's heating up, place the flour and salt into a gallon size Ziplock baggie. Cut your chicken breasts in half. Drop in one piece of chicken at a time into the bag one and give it a good shake. Remove the chicken, shaking off any excess flour and carefully place into the hot oil. Continue until all the chicken is coated in flour. 


Brown for roughly 8 minutes on each side.


You'll most likely have to cook the chicken in batches as I did as you don't want to crowd the oven.


Remove. Drain on paper towels.


Chop the onion. Chop the garlic.


Once the chicken is all browned, remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil/fat and carefully add the onions. Sweat them, stirring for about 1 min. Add garlic.  Cook another minute.


Slowly add the wine. Stir, scrapping up and incorporating all the yummy browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol. 


Add the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate.


Add the crushed tomatoes. 


Add the herbs de provence, ground thyme, oregano, freshly ground black pepper. Stir to incorporate. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste.


Add back the chicken, cover and place in the preheated oven for 15-25 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.

In the meantime, let's finish up some of the prep work and get the side dish ready.

For the chicken, open and drain your olives. Now, I happened to have whole California black pitted olives ("mission" olives) but kalamatas, nicoise or the more traditional nyon olives would be just as lovely.


Zest one lemon and chop about 4 tablespoons of flat leaf Italian parsley. Set aside.

Now onto the side dish. You could make mashed potatoes for your side dish but I prefer buttered noodles.


Cook your noodles.




While they are cooking, lightly brown some Panko bread crumbs in a little butter.


Drain your noodles. 


Place in a bowl. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.


What makes this dish particularly bright is adding a little lemon zest just before the last toss. Yum! Once served, top with a sprinkle of the golden brown Panko crumbs.

OK, once your chicken is fork tender, remove from oven and place on medium high heat on the stovetop. Remove the chicken. Add 1/2 cp to 3/4 cp chicken stock. Stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Add olives and the zest of half a lemon. Cook to heated, about 1 minute. Add back the chicken. Turn off heat. 


Plate. Sprinkle with some of the reserved chopped parsley and lemon zest. Enjoy.

Ani's Chicken Provençal
(serves 8 or 4 depending on hunger level!)

2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large chicken breasts (or 8 bone in thighs, see note)
1 medium brown onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 29 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cp black, kalamata or nyon olives, pitted
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350º.

Place first two ingredients into a gallon Ziplock baggie. One piece at a time, drop in chicken, shake, remove, shaking off any excess flour. Set aside. 

Put your Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once it's hot, carefully add the floured chicken into the pot. Don't crowd, you'll need to cook in batches. Brown on each side about 8 minutes and drain on paper towels. Once all the chicken is browned, remove all but 1 tablespoon of the leftover oil/fat. 

Add the onion and sweat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Slowly add the wine, stirring and scrapping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook off the alcohol for 5-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. Add all the herbs and the crushed tomatoes. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add back the chicken. Cover. Cook in preheated oven for roughly 25 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear. When it reaches this state, remove from oven and place on stovetop on medium high heat.

Remove chicken from the dutch oven, tent with foil and set aside.

To the dutch oven, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in olives and half the lemon zest and cook to heated through, about 1 minute. Add back the chicken and turn off flame. 

Serve and garnish with parsley and lemon zest.

Note: if using thighs, you can brown with skin on. However, before combining the browned chicken with the tomato mixture, remove the skins. Trust me, you don't want to leave them on. Since I actually like chicken skin, I made the mistake of leaving it on the very first time I made this with chicken quarters and it was a gooey mess that was hard to tell apart from the sauce until it was in your mouth and simply not tasty.


2 comments:

Darlene said...

The color of the dutch oven is GORGEOUS!

And the chicken provencal looks might good too. Glad to hear you bought yourself a little gift that will keep on giving.

afotogirl said...

Oh, it is lovely and matches my KitchenAid appliances perfectly. Thank you for finding it for me!

Next up is an Italian pot roast me thinks... or Alton's Garlic chicken or... but this is the kind of problem I'm happy to have! :)