Chicken Provencal is pretty much my favorite food in the entire universe. It is basically a chicken stew, with lots of tomatoes and garlic and olives, from the south of France (Provence, duh).
I used Cook's Illustrated's recipe, with some slight alterations of my own. For starters, as you will notice, I only used 4 chicken thighs. I do not adjust the proportions of the sauce down because extra sauce is good, and if you do the braising liquid will not cover the chicken. But trust me, if you do decide to use 8 thighs, the proportions for the sauce given are still sufficient. No need to add more. This requires a good dutch oven.
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion , chopped fine (about 2/3 cup)
- 6 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 anchovy fillet , minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), drained
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaf
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup niçoise olives , pitted
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
So here are all my ingredients! You will need to pit those olives by hand (unless you somehow find nicoise that are already pitted. Just smash them a bit with a wine bottle under a dish towel and then squeeze out the pits.
First step is to preheat your oven to 300. While the oven is warming up, you can chop the onion and prepare your mis en place. I combined the broth and the tomatoes and tomato paste and herbs since they all go in at the same time, as well as the garlic and anchovie (DO NOT SKIMP ON THE ANCHOVIE) and cayenne. It should look like this.
Then you'll want to put your Dutchy on the stove top and heat some olive oil over medium high heat until almost at the smoke point (only use on TBspoon of oil, less than you think). Salt and Pepper your chicken thighs and brown, skin side down, for five minutes. Then five on the other side. You will probably have to do this in batches if you are using 8 thighs. Then remove to a plate. Pour off most of the fat. Leave just enough to fry those onions next or it will be too greasy later.
Now reduce heat to medium and add your onion. Cook about five minutes, stirring now and then.
Now add the garlic/cayenne/anchovie. Cook for one minute, stirring.
Then deglaze the pan with the wine, and scrape the bottom to loosen the brown bits.
Now pour in your herbs/tomatoes/paste/broth mixture. Bring to a boil.
While the pot is coming to a boil, take the skin off your chicken thighs. I have tried this with leaving teh skin on and it gets nasty. Seriously, take it off. Return chicken and accumulated juices to the pan. Cover and put in the oven for one hour and fifteen minutes.
While the chicken is stewing, you can prepare a side dish (I like polenta, but mashed potatoes or butter noodles work well too), but you also need to work on the final touches. Chop the parsley and zest the lemon. Pit the olives if you have not yet. Your ingredients should now look like this
When the chicken is done, remove from the oven and set aside on a plate. Cover with foil. Add half your lemon zest. Bring the pot to a boil again over high heat. Combine the remaining lemon zest and parsley
After five minutes, throw the olives in for one minute and then the chicken back in and reduce heat to medium for another minute. Stir as best you can.
Serve it all up and sprinkle each portion with the parsley/lemon zest.
Drink French Wine.