Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard

There are some days where I come home and I want dinner instantly made. I really want a personal chef to make whatever I am craving right there and then. Pregnancy cravings are something that I have not had much of aside from my weekly visits to Rubio's for their shrimp burritos. (I'm totally cool at my local Rubio's - they already know my name and order.) Then I smack myself out of my fantasy-like world, and realize that I don't have that luxury like those from the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." I am my own personal chef, and all I need to do is plan ahead and dinner can be instantly made. With the little help of a slow cooker or crock pot, dinner can be ready by the time I come home from a full day's work.

Once I saw this dish on Kelsey's blog, I knew that this was an instant winner. Braised chicken with yummy fixings over creamy polenta. YUM! Plus, I am totally random with foodie items that I have in my pantry, and happened to have anchovy paste in my spice drawer. No, I was not using anchovy paste on pizza, ice cream or anything pregnant-crazy like that. I had another recipe that called for it, and I never made the dish. I'm so thankful that I didn't because this dish was comfort food at it's best. You can barely taste the anchovy, and I think it adds a great depth to the dish, too. The only prep work that I had to do to complete the meal was a side of creamy polenta which took less than 25 minutes.

Best served with this creamy polenta and I substituted Parmesan cheese.
Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard
Adapted from Apple A Day
Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped, about 1 cup
5 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or (1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and minced)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
8 to 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed
6 to 8 ounces Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves sliced 1/2 inch thick

Preparation:

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until lightly shimmering. Add onions, thyme, tomato paste, garlic, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook until onion is translucent and has softened about 8-10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more.

Slowly whisk in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Transfer to crock pot/slow cooker.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, red wine, and bay leaves into crock pot/slow cooker.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours, on low.

Gently stir in chard, cover, and cook on high until tender, 20-30 minutes.

**This step I totally ignored since there was not much fat to skim off. You can opt to do this step, or forgo it and skip it.** Transfer chicken to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Let braising liquid settle 5 minutes, then skim fat from surface using large spoon. Discard bay leaves.

Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sauce spooned over each chicken piece. 
  
Yield: Serves 6 servings (2 or 3 chicken thighs per person depending on quantity)
Review: Absolutely heavenly. I loved every last bite of this braised chicken including the swiss chard. Plus, I forgot how easy and tasty polenta is since the last time I made it was when I made my anniversary dinner. SoCal weather has finally hit some low temps, and I'm all about one pot comfort food dinners. This is the perfect cure for winter blues.
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