Braised Chicken with Red Wine Anchovy Sauce
It’s mid-April, and I had thought it high time to put off sharing hearty, braised stews, at least until the snow flew again. Evidently, the weather has a grudge against my daffodils, and didn’t think we were ready for spring. As I looked outside my office windows this past week, calculating there must be at least eight inches of fresh, fluffy, white powder, I suppose the joke’s on me. So, that means we can still rustle up rich concoctions like this one, flavor-layered with herbs. Allow your braise to simmer, and take its time. That steamy, herbal infusion, trapped inside a heavy Dutch oven, will not only produce a tender, moist meat. It will perfume your kitchen, as well. Go put another log on the fire, pour a glass of wine, and let dinner cook itself, in your oven.
2 medium, sweet onions, diced
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
Note: Don’t be put off by anchovies! Yes, they’re salty, and definitely, they are the one ingredient almost everyone agrees should stay off their pizza. But, these little fishies have a knack for dissolving into a sauce, ramping up the flavor element. Maybe it’s true, great things come in small packages.
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 T fresh rosemary, minced
2 cups low-salt chicken broth, or more if needed to cover chicken during braise
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
sea salt and pepper
4 T olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
2 28 oz cans diced roma tomatoes
2 T red wine vinegar
Method Note: Braising, the process of slowly simmering meats in liquids over lower temperatures, is an excellent procedure for tenderizing tougher cuts of meat. As the protein cooks in the heavy, covered pot, either on the stove top or in the oven, flavor molecules circulate within the steamy space, infusing the meat and sauce, and intensifying flavor. The oven method is best, because the heat is indirect, and less intense. The sauce you create will be richer, and luxuriant.
Rich and satisfying, this rosemary-infused tomato sauce has a secret ingredient which, once dissolved, boosts sauce flavor. Can you guess? It’s the anchovy!
Position rack in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F.
Place anchovies, garlic, and minced rosemary in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add chicken broth and process until ingredients are well-blended, scraping sides of bowl if necessary, for about 30 seconds.
Season chicken with sea salt and pepper.
In deep, heavy ovenproof Dutch oven with lid, warm 2 T oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces in batches, skin side down, until deep brown, about ten minutes. Turn and brown the other side, about five minutes more. Remove chicken to large bowl, and repeat with remaining pieces, adding oil as needed.
Add onion and sauté on medium heat, until deep golden.
Return heat to medium-high, and add wine. Bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot with a wooden spoon. Add the rosemary-broth mixture and tomatoes. Return chicken to the pot, along with any accumulated juices collected in the bowl, spooning broth mixture over chicken. Cover pot with lid. Transfer the pot to the oven, and braise until the chicken is tender and no longer pink, approximately one hour, 15 minutes.
Carefully remove pot from oven (it will be hot!) With a slotted spoon, remove chicken pieces to a large, clean bowl and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is reduced by 1/3, and thickened slightly. Add vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve chicken with sauce in deep, shallow bowls. This pairs wonderfully with Creamy Mashed Potatoes and a simple, green vegetable, such as green beans. You can steam them quickly, while the sauce is reducing.
This recipe makes leftovers, which freeze well!
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