Chicken Provencal is a rustic French dish of chicken simmered with tomatoes, garlic, herbs and olives. You can serve this braise over rice, soft polenta, cauliflower rice, potatoes or with crusty bread.
The original recipe was developed as a weeknight meal, made in 30 minutes by giving the chicken a headstart in the microwave. Because I made this on the weekend and had more time to spend in the kitchen, I chose to sear the chicken in a dutch oven first. Searing meat creates lovely "fond," the brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan which give you an intense flavor when you deglaze with wine, chicken stock or other liquid
I will give you both the long and short method below that produces aromatic vegetables and concentrated flavors for a dynamic chicken dinner.
2 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 slices of bacon, cut with kitchen shears into lardons
1 tablespoon olive oil (I like California Olive Ranch evoo)
1 tablespoon butter (I like Kerrygold)
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons regular flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth (I like Better than Bouillon paste mixed with water)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Making this on the weekend...
In a large dutch oven heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and sear for two to three minutes until a little browning starts to occur. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Cut the bacon over the dutch oven with kitchen shears (one of my favorite kitchen utensils) and let the lardons fall right into the pot. The bacon will begin to render fat, and you will see it start to crisp a little after two minutes. Stir in the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook until lightly browned about one minute, this is called a roux. Slowly stir in the wine, scraping up any fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and oregano, and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to low and add the chicken along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer, the chicken should be 165 in the center thickest part.
Finish and serve
The last step is to stir in the olives and parsley and taste for seasoning. Serve over rice and enjoy.
Making this on a weeknight...
Make every minute count by immediately starting the chicken in the microwave, then mince the bacon and onion. Measure out the flour, wine, and broth while the bacon and onion cook. Here is the play-by-play:
Precook the chicken
Season chicken with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave at 50% power for 15 minutes. Follow steps above for sauteing the bacon, onion, garlic. Build the sauce by adding the flour, the liquids, and seasonings as mentioned above.
When the chicken is done, you should be nearly done with building the sauce in the pan. Add the microwaved chicken to the pot, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. All the steps are the same, except instead of searing the chicken, you precook in the microwave and buy yourself some time.