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Balsamic-Braised Chicken

Balsamic vinegar and red wine color this chicken a deep mahogany as it simmers gently on the stovetop. Use a medium-bodied, dry Italian red, such as a Barbera from Emilia-Romagna or a Chianti from nearby Tuscany, for the most flavorful result.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken, about 3 lb., preferably free range, cut into 8 serving pieces 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled 
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig, 3 inches long 
  • 1 cup dry red wine such as Barbera 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

Directions:

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and garlic and cook the chicken, turning as needed, until well browned on both sides, about 20 minutes total. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent the garlic from burning.

Tip the pan and spoon off the excess fat. Add the rosemary sprig, wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, until the chicken is opaque throughout when tested with a knife, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a warmed platter, cover and keep warm.

Raise the heat to high, bring the liquid to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced and has thickened, creating a flavorful pan sauce. Remove and discard the garlic cloves and the rosemary sprig. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).