Braised Chicken and Potatoes

Sometimes the best meals aren’t planned. On Sunday I usually plan our dinner ahead of time because it’s really the one day each week when I can make a meal that takes more than an hour to prep and cook. After a long rainy Sunday of being out and about we stopped at the grocery store and I blindly grabbed a few things which is very unlike me. I haphazardly put together a warm chicken stew-like dish that was sweet, savory and warming on this cool and damp spring night. It’s also easy to make and uses only one pot!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 chicken thighs, washed and seasoned wish kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (roughly, I didn’t measure)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 can diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • Fresh chopped basil
  • Cheese, fresh grated (I used half Parmesan and half Gruyere)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Small potatoes, halved
  • Herbs de Provence, 1 pinch
  • Tomato paste
INSTRUCTIONS:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In large dutch oven, heat olive oil until its hot and starts to roll. Add the chicken to the pot, and flip after two minutes. Then add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, a few fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of Herbs de Provence.

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Let the onions cook for a few minutes. Then add the potatoes.

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Add the red wine vinegar, tomatoes and sweet red peppers. Season with salt and pepper again and stir together. If you like a kick of spice, add a few teaspoons of red pepper flakes. Bring to a low boil, stir the pot and then cover tightly and place in the oven.

Check on it once or twice and stir all the ingredients. I added a squirt of tomato paste to thicken the broth a touch.

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Bake this dish for about an hour or so, the chicken will be fork tender and fall apart in the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil and grated cheese. Enjoy!

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Red Wine Beef Stew

With the snow comes my cravings for a soup or hearty stew. Growing up, my mom always made us a delicious beef stew with carrots, celery, onion and served it over egg noodles. It was always so warm and comforting. I can never make it as good as hers but here’s my version.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs beef stew meat (I bought it already cut in cubes)
  • 1/3 bottle Italian red wine (I used a cab)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (lots of black pepper at the end!)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large russet potato cut in cubes (or any kind you prefer)
  • String beans
  • Chicken broth

Directions

1. Place the beef cubes in a dish with smashed garlic gloves, salt & pepper. Pour the wine over the meat and marinate in the refrigerator for as long as you have time- an hour or as long as overnight is fine.

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2. Remove the meat from the wine and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the wine.

3. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, place the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes each side. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan so you should cook more than one batch separately. Otherwise the meat will steam instead of brown.

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4. If necessary, put more olive oil in the pan and add onions. Stir and add garlic. After about a minute add celery and carrots. Cook for a few minutes. Then add potatoes last.

Season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the reserved wine in the pot scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then add chicken broth so it just barely covers everything.img_0203-1 img_0204-1Cover the pan and simmer for several hours until the meat is very tender. You can’t over cook it if you’re going low and slow.

Add the string beans a half hour before you are ready to eat. You can add them sooner but I don’t like them mushy. You can also then take the lid off to reduce the liquid down a bit.

Spoon the stew into a bowl on top of your egg noodles and top with fresh grated cheese. This dinner will warm you right up.

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