Green olives, tomatoes, shallots, fresh thyme, white wine and plenty of garlic create a deeply fragrant, flavorful base for this delicately date-sweetened braised chicken Provençal.
The Flavors of Provence
Provence is a comparatively sun-soaked region of France, and its cuisine reflects that. Our this braised chicken celebrates that Provençal bounty, using:
- Olives. Olive groves are abundant in Provence, and the region produces truly excellent olive oil. Their briny bite brings a disproportionate amount of deliciousness to this simple braised chicken.
- Herbs. You may have heard of the classic, lavender-flecked herb blend, Herbes de Provence, and if you’ve got some on-hand, go ahead and use it in this recipe! However, to keep things simple and approachable, we’re only calling for thyme. With so many big flavors at play, the braised chicken is still fragrant and delicious even with just thyme.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic and lots of it—we just know that we’d be right at home in Provence.
ABOUT THE WINE:
- Ugni Blanc. Also called “Trebbiano Toscano”, Ugni Blanc is a commonly planted varietal in France, and yields a crisp, tart white wine. It’s a little hard to find here in the U.S. but if you can find it, it’s often pretty inexpensive.
- Marsanne / Roussanne. Marsanne is a French grape varietal that gives wines a little body and heft—kind of like Chardonnay. Roussanne is similarly full-bodied, but has an herbal, sometimes floral perfume that distinguishes it from Marsanne. Together, they’re a classic white wine blend.
- Grenache Blanc. Popular in Spain (where it’s called Garnacha or Garnatxa Blanca) and Southern France, Grenache Blanc isn’t too hard to find in the U.S., and is often quite affordable.
BRAISE THE CHICKEN:
- Season the chicken thighs. Salt, pepper, thyme.
- Brown the chicken thighs. Heat, oil, a light touch.
- Flavor the chicken thighs. Garlic, shallots, tomatoes, dates, olives, wine. Simmer.
- Braise the chicken thighs. Into a hot oven for an hour.
HOW TO DO IT: (for 4)
- 8 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 3-4 sprigs Fresh thyme or 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 12 Cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 Medium-size shallots, peeled and halved
- 2 Pints of cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup Dates, halved and pitted (if necessary)
- 1 cup Green olives
- 1 cup Dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large oven proof pan, and place in the chicken skin side down. Cook the chicken without disturbing it for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Flip chicken over.
- Arrange the thyme, garlic cloves, shallots, cherry tomatoes, dates and green olives around the chicken, then add the wine to the pan.
- Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven. Cook in the oven for 60 minutes.
- Serve over rice, polenta, mashed potatoes or with crusty bread for dipping.