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15th February
2009
written by Steph
Braised Balsamic Chicken

Braised Balsamic Chicken (served with brown rice & oven-roasted asparagus)

Holy moley, is this ever delicious, and the pictures don't do it justice.  Seriously, I think the simplicity of the individual ingredients involved belie just how frikkin’ good the final product is, because man oh man is this one ever good.  And quick to put together, too (no joke, this took all of 20 minutes to cook, if that)!  And appropriate for people on a tighter budget, because nothing all that fancy is needed, and in fact, not all that many ingredients are needed.  Oh, and it’s also healthy… And just so we’re clear: YUMMY.  I need to stop talking about it and just tell you how to go ahead and make it because it is so good and you don’t want to spend any more of your life without having tasted this chicken.  Let’s get to it! Ingredients (we’ll say for two, but you could probably add way more chicken, because we had a fair share of left-over veggies) •    2 skinless and deboned chicken breasts (we buy these mutant gargantuan (but organic!) chicken breasts at Sam’s club, so I just used one of these whoppers and cut it into 2 portions after the fact) •    ½ white onion, thinly sliced (not diced!) •    ½ red pepper, thinly sliced •    2 tbsp olive oil (or thereabouts, I never measure oil…) •    salt and pepper •    garlic salt* (this is for seasoning the chicken breast; feel free to use whatever you like to use → I actually used some garlic and herb seasoning I have) •    ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar •    1 can of diced tomatoes (I used a fire-roasted variety that I love because it gives them some extra flavor) •    1 tsp dried basil •    1 tsp dried oregano •    1 tsp dried rosemary •    ½ tsp dried thyme •    2 tbsp brown sugar •    fresh mozzarella cheese, or any other cheese you want for garnish (option) Method 1.    Heat your (large) pan over medium-high heat and add your oil.  You want a good amount in the bottom of the pan because you’ll be browning your chicken and sautéing your raw veggies in it, too. 2.    Season your chicken with black pepper & garlic salt, OR use your preferred seasoning blend, whatever that may be.  Place chicken in pan and let it brown before flipping over (probably needs 3 minutes). 3.    After flipping your chicken, add in your onions and peppers and let them cook alongside the chicken. 4.    After about 7 minutes or so, when the onions have browned and the peppers have softened, add in your tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar.  Add in the brown sugar (to cut a bit of the acidity from the vinegar) and the dried herbs.  Stir everything together, and then simmer the contents of the pan for about 10 minutes, to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.  When chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, it’s done. 5.    Optional last step:  Place thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese atop the chicken breasts.  Cover pan with lid for about 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. 6.    Serve over rice and dig in!
Braised Balsamic Chicken

Braised Balsamic Chicken

People, I cannot express to you how good this was.  The sauce was nice and rich, and tasted wonderful with the chicken, the veggies, and over the rice.  I had to hold back from licking the plate!  One of the problems that can arise with chicken breast is that it can wind up dry, but this chicken was extremely tender and moist.  It came together super quickly and was really the case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  It’s got great depth of flavor, and tastes like it’s far more complicated than it is. I served this chicken with brown rice and some oven-roasted asparagus, but you could easily serve it over noodles or cous cous if you wanted, and a side is completely optional.  In addition to the veggies I used, I think you could also add in mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant if you had them on hand and they’d complement the dish really well. Oh, one other thing: if, like me, you wound up with more onion & red peppers in your pan than you could eat in one sitting, don’t worry!  Save them, and you can add them into the chili con carne recipe I’ll share with you next time…

11 Comments

  1. 02/15/2009

    Steph.. even though this is my first comment on your food posts, I have been reading them religiously lol. My husband’s a chef and he cooks special meals every once in a while, but mostly it’s me who handles the kitchen at home, as he’s so very busy at work. I’m a terrible cook, hit-and-miss, I should say. I only also learned from him. I like your stuff and it gives me ideas. I’ll be using a few of your recipes soon.. thanks!

  2. 02/15/2009

    Claire, thanks for the comment. You should definitely give this chicken a whirl, as it’s really simple and comes together quickly, but it’s also incredibly flavorful! I think the only thing you’d need to worry about is making sure the chicken is fully cooked through, but if upon adding the balsamic vinegar you let it simmer (you can even cover the pan) for about 15 minutes, you should have no problems whatsoever. Please let me know if you try anything, because I’d love to know how it turns out for you! I’m glad my recipes give you ideas, I find the best way to cook is when you’re inspired!

  3. 02/15/2009

    I will try this one for sure.. and Iet you know when I do. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  4. 02/16/2009

    This looks delicious!
    I already added this to the list of recipes I would like to try. I’ll let you know what the results are – I’m not that great of a cook! 😉

  5. 02/16/2009

    Please do let me know how it turns out! I think the beauty of this recipe is really that it’s SO simple that practically no cooking skills are required! 🙂

  6. 02/21/2009

    Hey Steph.. I tried this last night. It was wonderful! The kids and hubby really loved it. I did a few minor tweaks due to the unavailability of certain ingredients but it looked pretty much the same in your picture. Thanks!! 🙂 I’ll have to try more of your other recipes sometime.

  7. 02/21/2009

    Claire, I’m so glad it worked out for you! I like to think that most of the recipes I post are not hard set, and people should feel free to add or leave out ingredients as they see fit. On rare occasions I go out to the grocery store with a specific ingredients for specific meals in mind, but more often than not, I just pick up the things that look good (and are on sale) and make them work! Please let me know how any of the other recipes work out for you.

  8. 02/21/2009

    I forgot to mention.. one of the ingredients unavailable was the balsamic vinegar. I thought we had some, but realized too late that we ran out. Luckily, my husband has a jar of balsamic reduction that he made, so that’s what I used, and didn’t add any sugar in. Also, I only was able to use dried basil and fresh thyme. Other than that, I followed your recipe pretty faithfully. 🙂 Now I have to go and read your chili con carne post!

  9. Simona
    03/02/2009

    I’m so pleased that you’re getting such a great response on your recipe posts!

    I’ll be trying this out tonight…

  10. Simona
    03/02/2009

    Verdict: Delightful!

    This recipe will definitely be entering the rotation here. So easy and so delicious!

    On a related note, how do you bake your asparagus? I remember discussing this with you a while back but can’t find my notes… As a result, mine turned out disappointingly dry tonight. Thankfully the rest of the meal more than made up for it!

  11. 03/02/2009

    Hurrah! I’m so glad it worked out for you! Isn’t is so easy and tasty?
     
    For my roasted asparagus, I normally preheat my oven to 425, and then drizzle the asparagus quite liberally with olive oil and a little salt. I then bake ’em for about 15 – 20 minutes – they should be cripsy/crunchy, but not dry. They get this really good nutty flavour, when they’re roasted!

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