Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Braised Balsamic Chicken

My husband is a lover of balsamic vinegar. He doesn't do much food prep, but he always makes the balsamic vinaigrette because it's something he can get excited about. His recipe is essentially a ridiculous amount of balsamic, a splash of olive oil, plus seasoning. Yeah, he likes balsamic. He's still going strong on the low carb diet, so when I saw a recipe for Balsamic Chicken going around on Pinterest, I thought it would be a perfect dinner. (I based my recipe on this one.) The chicken braises in a minimalist broth of balsamic and seasonings, creating a wonderfully balanced sauce. Served with cauliflower puree or roasted veggies, it is elegant enough for entertaining. And you can even make it in the Crockpot or Instant Pot if you want!


Braised Balsamic Chicken
1 T olive oil (omit in slow cooker version because the chicken will release some fat)
1 onion, chopped (optional)
2 T chopped garlic
3 lbs skinless chicken thighs, bone in or out
2 t salt
2 t dried Italian seasoning
black and red pepper flakes to taste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Stovetop method: saute onion, garlic, and chicken thighs (seasoned with salt) in olive oil in a large pot until caramelized. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer on low for 40 minutes. Garnish with parsley, if using, when finished cooking.

Crockpot method: dump everything in Crockpot (in order listed). Cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Garnish with parsley, if using, when finished cooking.

Instant Pot method: saute onion, garlic, and chicken thighs (seasoned with salt) in olive oil until caramelized. Seal Instant Pot and set to 15 minutes if using boneless, and 17 if using bone-in. Quick release when done. Garnish with parsley, if using, when finished cooking.

Variations:
My favorite variation of this is with "roasted" garlic in the Crockpot. I use this awesome technique for peeling garlic in 10 seconds. Add a entire head's worth of peeled cloves to the sauce (omit the chopped garlic), and cook in the Crockpot as directed. They will emerge mellow, soft, and buttery.

I sometimes throw in a 1/2 lb or so of veggies: zucchini, mushrooms, etc at the beginning and cook as directed.

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