Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

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The season is changing which presents some promising new comforting recipes – but challenges as I loose the perfect light for photography. I encountered but last night in my kitchen. The last of summer tomatoes braised with hearty mushrooms, crispy chicken thighs and the warmth of fresh time. Followed by a tricky eight o’clock photoshoot with little natural light as the sunset way too early. Despite the photo, this dish was exactly the Fall dish I’ve been daydreaming of. My biggest mistake was skipping the polenta or crusty bread to soak up all the chicken juices.

This is a great weeknight meal. Make sure to get the chicken thighs extra crispy – don’t skimp on the first steps. It will pay off.

Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups quartered cremeni mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh sweet tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup homemade or good-quality low-salt canned chicken broth, if needed
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, but don’t let it smoke. Add as many of the chicken pieces, skin side down, as will fit without crowding and brown all sides well, 3 to 4 min. per side. Transfer to a plate, add more olive oil if needed, and brown the remaining chicken. Transfer to the plate. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, and sauté until translucent, about 4 min. Add the garlic and cook another 2 min. If the pan is dry, add 1 Tbs. oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and begin to brown, about 5 min. Add the salt and pepper. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Return the chicken pieces to the pan (they should just fit in snugly) and simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 min. Add the tomatoes and olives and reduce the heat. Simmer the chicken, turning occasionally, until it’s completely cooked and very tender, 30 to 40 min. Check the pan frequently and add broth as needed if the pan becomes too dry. Add 1 tsp. of the thyme to the pan.

Serve the chicken with your favorite starch – crusty bread, polenta, rice, or potatoes!

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