Bistro Chicken

The original name for this recipe was “Easy Bistro Chicken”. Whoever named it was either a super gourmet chef, or a big, fat, liar. This recipe was by no stretch of the imagination “easy”. I started in the kitchen around 4:30 and we sat down dinner a little after 7. But if you actually enjoy cooking, as I do, this chicken is definitely well worth the time spent on it!

While we were eating, Nick asked me what the chicken was called. When I told him, he asked me what a bistro was. I think my heart broke a little. Someday, hopefully, we can visit Paris together and I can bring Nick to all my very favorite places. We’ll eat steak frites and cassoulet while enveloped in a cloud of Gauloise smoke, then alternate between cab franc and cafe au lait (with sugar cubes) until 2 am while watching the Tour Eiffel sparkle. It will be perfect.

Perfect until Nick starts complaining about the noise, the smell, the language, the rude waiter, the slow service, the not-so-manly clothing, and the general lack of American amenities. Not that that would ever happen, of course.

Ah, well, Paris isn’t for everyone. The food, though, is pretty phenomenal, no matter who you are.

Bistro Chicken

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •  1 whole large (4-5 lbs) chicken, quartered
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Dash ground red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 8 cups hot cooked short pasta (buttered)

Heat 1 1/2 tsp oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast halves to pot; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pot. Repeat with another 1 1/2 tsp oil and remaining chicken.

Heat another 1 tbsp oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Add celery and sauté another 5 minutes. Add basil and next 8 ingredients (basil through tomatoes). Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. (I put the breasts in for an extra 10 min before adding the rest because they were extremely large).

Uncover and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Discard bay leaves. Serve over pasta!

This was soooo yummy! I rarely cook whole chickens, but I should do it more often since Nick likes the dark meat and it’s not really my thing. Plus, cooking with the skin on makes the chicken SO juicy and delicious!

I was a little afraid this was going to be too salty with all the olives and capers, but the pasta and chicken balanced it out really nicely. I’d say it was more acidic than salty, thanks to the vinegar and tomatoes, but that definitely wasn’t a bad thing! I may not be a Parisian chef, but I could definitely take on any Enid line cook and win with flying colors. 😉

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