Tomato Balsamic Braised Chicken recipe is packed with bold, warm and comforting flavors. Cooked to perfection, it’s also easy to prepare. There’s a not-so-secret key to making the best chicken ever. Would you ever order a dish on a menu called, “Really Good Chicken?”
Well, that’s what should be the name of this recipe. All I kept thinking while I was making and tasting it, was that it was really, really good chicken!
We all love really good chicken recipes, right? And there’s a reason why this one is so good — and why every chicken recipe can be this good.
What’s in Tomato Balsamic Braised Chicken?
- dried, mild Hatch chile peppers
- tomato paste
- sweet paprika
- fresh tomatoes
- balsamic vinegar
- and of course, chicken
All of these flavors, combined with juicy chicken, are warm and comforting.
When to Serve Tomato Balsamic Braised Chicken
While this chicken recipe is a wonderful comfort food for fall and winter, the abundance of fresh tomatoes makes it just as great a choice in the spring and summer. Just add a salad, and maybe some crusty bread and you’re set.
Do you see how juicy and succulent that bite looks!?
So what is the key to making the best chicken ever?
These tips apply to all chicken recipes, not just the above.
- This is the most important, and not-so-secret key—> Above everything, cook the chicken JUST until it’s cooked through — and if possible, not a second longer.
It’s simple, when chicken is tender and juicy, it’s fabulous and really good! When it’s overcooked, it’s dry, tough and not so good.
- To make sure you don’t overcook chicken when following a recipe, use the time given in chicken recipes only as a guide — not as a concrete measurement of when it’s done.
- Use a knife to cut into the thickest part of chicken towards the last third of the cooking time. You want to remove it from the oven as soon as it’s no longer raw. Even if it’s a little pink, that’s okay. If it’s cooked long enough, it can still be a bit pink, but you’ll see texture, which indicates it’s no longer raw.
Chicken continues to cook (at least 5 more degrees) after it’s removed from the oven, while it’s resting.
- You can also test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken, should not be any higher than 165°F. This means it should come out of the oven between 155°F and 160°F! (Be sure the thermometer isn’t touching a bone because this will result in an inaccurate reading.)
- Chicken should always “rest” a good few minutes after it comes out of the oven. The resting times will vary, depending on if it’s a whole chicken, cut up pieces, etc. This allow the juices to settle, which will make each bite juicier.
- Be sure to season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper before adding it to the recipe.
- If it works for the recipe you’re cooking, leave the chicken on the bone. Cooking times will be longer, but it will almost always produce a juicier product. Cooking it with the skin on will also help keep it moist. Sometimes I cook it with the skin on, and then remove it before serving. This is up to you.
No matter how delicious the flavor, if it’s overcooked, it won’t be great
- Of course marinating and/or brining chicken will add flavor, as will a sauce and whatever seasonings you use, but this doesn’t supersede overcooking it.
- All of these rules of thumb apply to all cooking methods. In this recipe, we’re braising the chicken, but they also apply for roasting, sautéing, grilling, and so on.
A Few More Really Good Chicken Recipes . . .
Achiote Marinated ChickenSimple Honey Lemon Roasted ChickenSheet Pan Chipotle Chicken with Corn SalsaLemon Herb Chicken Under a BrickBaked Coconut Mango ChickenI hope you enjoy the Tomato Balsamic Braised Chicken and all of these really good chicken recipes.
Tomato Balsamic Braised Chicken
- 4 dried mild Hatch or Anaheim chile peppers
- olive oil for the pan
- 2 1/2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed and dried, cut into fourths
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 approximately (3 1/4-pound) whole cut up chicken, bone-in, skin-off
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then reduce to low and add the dried peppers. Cover the pot and let them simmer for about 30 minutes. Then turn the heat off, keep the peppers covered and let them sit until they're soft. Another 30 minutes is sufficient, but the longer the better. When they're done, remove them from the pot but SAVE the cooking liquid! Remove the stems from the peppers and use your hands to open them and remove the seeds. (You can also use a small spoon or the back of a knife to gently scrape them off.) Set the prepared peppers aside.
- While the peppers are hydrating, preheat the oven to 375°F, adjust a rack to the center.
- Then coat the bottom of a large, deep, oven proof sauté pan with olive oil. Place it over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring periodically, until the onions are caramelized and soft, about 15 minutes.
- Then add the tomato paste, paprika and cinnamon and stir. If it seems dry, add a bit more olive oil. Sauté this mixture for a few minutes, until it's very aromatic and the tomato paste is beginning to brown.
- Add the fresh tomatoes to a blender or food processor with the hydrated, seeded peppers and 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. (Now you may discard the rest of the liquid.) Blend until smooth, and then pour this into the sauté pan with the onion mixture. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to blend. Season with a bit of salt and pepper -- and then season with more (if necessary) to taste after the chicken is done. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then arrange them in the pan, coating them as much as possible with the sauce and trying not to overlap them.
- Place the pan in the preheated 375°F oven and braise just until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. At the halfway point, cover the pan lightly with foil. Try to remove the pan as soon as the chicken isn't pink anymore -- keep checking towards the end of the cooking time. (You can use a sharp knife to poke into the thickest part of one of the breasts to see if it's done.)
- Let the chicken "rest" for a few minutes before serving. It's delicious over rice, pasta, or a nice chunk of rustic bread.
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