Braised Italian Chicken intro Sometimes the easiest meals, are the best ones.  This recipe isn’t fussy.  It requires just a few fresh staples, and a couple that are in most people’s pantries.  I’ve had this idea in my head for months, and a few weeks ago I finally started playing around with it and it didn’t take long to reach perfection.  This simple method of cooking is one of my go-to’s.  It involves searing some meat (in this case, chicken) adding some liquids and flavors, and then letting the oven do the work.  The result is similar to something that’s been in a slow-cooker all day; chicken that is so moist and tender that it just falls apart, and a sauce so flavorful and rich, you’d think it had simmered for hours.  But it takes only 60 minutes.  This type of dinner is one of my favorites because I can prep and cook a little and then once it goes into the oven I have time to set the table, do the dishes, and get everything cleaned up before we sit down to eat so that after dinner, clean-up is quick and easy.

This recipe is specifically for boneless, skinless thighs.  Don’t ask me about substitutions, just use the thighs.  They are specifically suited for this method of cooking, and the meat adds both flavor and body for the sauce.  Most packs of boneless, skinless thighs are between 1.5 and 2 lbs.  Shoot for something a little over 1.5 at least, since you’ll trim a little off.  I shoot for something between 1.6-1.8 lbs.

Chicken Thighs

Even boneless, skinless meat sometimes needs to be trimmed up a bit.  To prep your meat, grab a pair of kitchen shears, or simply a clean pair of scissors (emphasis on the clean, and put them in the dishwasher when you’re done.)  Set up a few layers of paper towels on a plate next to the sink and start running cold water.  Rinse each piece under cold water and use the scissors to snip off any remaining largish pieces of fat.  After each piece has been rinsed and trimmed, place on paper towels to blot dry.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.

Salted Chicken Thighs

You just need a few basic fresh ingredients here.  Even when my cupboards are bare, I usually have garlic, onions, and a carrot (or at least baby carrots for my kids).

Onion, Garlic, Carrot

Heat up a large dutch oven on the stove top.  Don’t stress out here if you don’t have a giant Le Creuset.  They’re beautiful, and high quality, but they also will cost you several hundred dollars.  You can find quality enamel coated cookware, that cooks just as well as those expensive brands, for under $100 (my favorite was purchased for $50 at Walmart years ago), which is a great deal.  A large pot like this is a great investment for your kitchen; it will last for years and can be quite the workhorse.  For half the year I’d say my big 6 qt Dutch Oven gets used more than any other pot in my kitchen.  Check out Lodge Brand for a great deal in fun colors.  You can also usually find them at stores like Walmart, Target, and even Costco usually has one in stock regularly.  I also see them often at stores like TJ Maxx/Home Goods, Marshalls, etc.

One trick, when you’re using any pan to sear meat, is that you must heat up your pan first.  It needs to be hot before you add your fat (in this case, oil) and before you add your meat.  If you place your meat on cold, not only will it not get a nice brown crust, but it will most likely end up sticking.  So once your pot is hot, swirl in some olive oil.  Our Extra Virgin Olive oil is a perfect fit here, and our Basil or Garlic is even better.

Basil Olive Oil

After searing the chicken pieces for a few minutes on each side, remove them and put them on a plate.  The chicken will have given off some fat and juice, plenty to cook your onions in.

Diced Onion

For sweetness, you’ll also add some shredded carrot.  The carrot will just melt right into the sauce and you won’t even notice it- we’re only using it to balance the flavor and add necessary sweetness to the sauce.

Shredding Carrots

You’ll also add a generous amount of garlic.  Once those veggies are softened a bit, dump in a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of tomato sauce.

Tomato Cans

To keep this quick and easy, the only seasoning we’re using is Italian.  It already has basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, marjoram, savory and thyme, all in one little bottle.

Italian Seasoning

and also a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. That’s it!  It takes less than 10 minutes to cook and dump everything in there.

Italian Chicken in Pot

Bring that mix up to a simmer and then add the chicken back in.

Italian Chicken Before Cooking

Pop a lid on your pot and stick it in the oven for an hour.

Dutch Oven

While it’s cooking you can prep anything you want to serve it on.  Obviously it’s good on pasta (this is one of my favorite cuts, they look like little roses!)  But it’s also good over rice, quinoa, steamed veggies, or on toasted hoagies or slider buns.

Pasta

In the oven, the sauce becomes rich and flavorful,

Italian Chicken after Cooking

And the chicken is so moist and tender that it falls apart with a fork.  I like to break it into large chunks.

Shredded Italian Chicken

The last thing you’l need is one more drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a handful of fresh basil.

Our Best Bites Basil

Stir it all in and you’re done.

Basil in Italian Chicken

Before serving (on noodles, or sandwiches, or anything) give it a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Wedge

This would be extra yummy with some of Kate’s Make Ahead Garlic Bread!
Hover your mouse over the image below to Pin it!

Our Best Bites Braised Italian Chicken Dinner

 

 

 

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35comments

  1. 1
    Liana says:

    I got a Dutch oven for Christmas and haven’t used it yet. What a great recipe to break it in!

  2. 2
    Lisa says:

    What temperature should the oven be on for the chicken when it is baking?

  3. 3
    Laura says:

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  4. 4
    Carly says:

    (I am seriously struggling to type a comment in. If there are two other unfinished comments that show up, so sorry. Ha! Technical difficulties. :)

    I can’t wait to try this. I love any reason to use my pretty turquoise Dutch oven. I got mine for a steal from Kohl’s on Black Friday a few years ago. It’s a Food Network brand one. I think it’s regularly $100 and I paid $40. Thanks for the great one pot wonder recipe!

  5. 5
    Alicia says:

    I’m guessing if I have a regular, not non-stick pot that is oven safe I could use that too, right? It’s for my induction stove and is quite heavy.

  6. 6
    Emily says:

    This looks like an awesome meal, but the only dutch oven I have is the type you use to cook over the coals outside while we – support my husband’s hobby – I mean…camp :) Does that type work, or do I “need” to go and buy a Le Creuset/similar coated dutch oven. It’s ok if you say I need to :)

    • 6.1

      It’s absolutely positively imperative that you purchase a new dutch oven and for best recipe results it should be in the fun color of your choice. (How’s that? ;))

  7. 7
    Ellie says:

    This sounds delicious. Will it totally ruin the sauce if I give the tomatoes 3 seconds in the blender before I pour them in? Smoothing out the tomato chunks just saves a lot of whining from my kids.

    Also, I clicked on one of the dutch oven links and discovered your very own personal OBB Amazon store. Is that new? It’s so fun to see what you use and your comments about them.

    • 7.1

      Yep, you can totally give them a pulse (my Mom always had to blend up cream of mushroom soup so we’d eat in in recipes!) Our Amazon store has been around forever, but it’s been hiding for a long time. We decided to bring it back to life!

  8. 8
    Jaime says:

    There are no words to describe my love for this recipe!! So. Stinkin. Yummy. Oh and it works great in a regular non stick pot :D Thanks for another hit ladies!!

  9. 9
    Elizabeth says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I used bone-in chicken thighs, since that’s all I had, and they were just as tender and moist as could be. I served it with quinoa, which was not a favorite of my husband or daughter, but my gluten-free (and picky!) son did not complain. Thanks for the recipe!!

  10. 10
    Courtney says:

    This looks delicious! Would it work in a crockpot?

  11. 11
    Amanda says:

    Love this, what a perfect chicken dinner to make this week :)

  12. 12
    Sandra Nelsen says:

    I made this last night. The family loved it. Husband barely had any leftover for his lunch today. That’s right–I’ll have to add a little extra ingredients next time I make it, as he really a ‘leftovers for lunch kind of guy’, and my Marine son probably ate half of it.

  13. 13
    Amy L says:

    Big hit with my family! Thanks.

  14. 14
    Vanessa says:

    Turned out great! Even my two year old liked it. Mine needed another 1/2 tsp of salt at the end though! :)

  15. 15

    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious. I had a bunch of celery that needed to be used up, so I chopped it up and tossed it in. That’s pretty much the only change I made – it’s unusual for me to follow a recipe as written!

  16. 16
    Nan says:

    I made this for dinner last night to rave reviews. I’m not Italian, but it sure tasted delicious to me and mine. Thanks for another winning recipe!

  17. 17
    Tammy says:

    Has anyone made this with chicken breasts instead?

    • 17.1
      Nan says:

      I made it with chicken breasts. I didn’t have any thighs (of the chicken variety). It was awesome.

  18. 18
    Esther L says:

    I made this for dinner last night and have two observations. One–it is ridiculously easy! Two–it’s unbelievably good. I couldn’t stop eating it! Even the super picky 7 year old cleaned her plate. This will most definitely be going into the dinner rotation. Thank you!!!

  19. 19
    shannon says:

    this was so good!! i added a splash of cream at the end to make it a little more saucy.

  20. 20
    Meredith says:

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for years and it’s even better than I could have imagined!! So easy to put together and the flavors are wonderful. Cleanup is a breeze and my costco version Dutch oven worked great :-) you girls are simply the Best!! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. 21
    Kelli says:

    Made this tonight. SO good! Mmmm.

  22. 22
    Ashley says:

    Where did you get the fun pasta?!

  23. 23
    Tanya says:

    With a kitchen as full as mine, I can’t believe I don’t have a Dutch oven. Lame! I’m going to try this out anyways though. I’ve never been let down by your recipes :)

  24. 24
    marcella says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I tossed everything in the slow cooker and set it on low for 4 hours and it was perfect. Served it over cauliflower rice. Husband loved it. Win! We’re having the leftovers tonight as sandwiches on toasted french rolls. Two super easy dinners – thanks!

  25. 25
    Michelle says:

    I made this tonight after dealing with chicken thighs for the first time ever – they were more fatty than breasts for sure. I don’t have a Dutch oven but used my electric pressure cooker for browning, sauteeing, and then cooking the chicken. It was delicious! Thanks!

  26. 26
    Joanne says:

    Do you think you could cut the temperature down to 300 degrees and bake it for 2 or 3 hours? Normally I love quick but Sundays I want to be able to cook it longer;-)

  27. 27
    Julie says:

    Is it really 14.5 ounces of tomato sauce, or should it be the small can?

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