Since starting this blog/website almost 5 years ago, I’ve tried a lot of chicken dishes.
It’s one of the things you can count on people to want…good, easy, delicious chicken dinner.
We’ve featured a lot of chicken here on Idiot’s Kitchen, but maybe none with more bang for the buck than Chicken Provencal.
The New York Times has a great cooking page (on line and of course, in print) that you can subscribe to. Every day they will email you a list of recipes and reasons why you should cook them.
Chicken Provencal was featured a couple of weeks ago and I immediately bookmarked it. My friend Cody also bookmarked it and then sent it to me to be sure I’d seen it. (Remember he’s the friend who often buys me the exact same cookbook I buy for him at Christmas.)
Cody made it first and immediately texted to tell me to GET ON IT! He was right, this is one good chicken recipe.
And it couldn’t be easier to make. Fancy food that totally fits a weeknight schedule.
Here’s what you need:
Chicken, Shallots, Garlic, Thyme (optional), Lemon, Flour (GF is fine), Herbs de Provence, White Vermouth, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
The Provencal or Provençal, if we’re being correct, comes from the seasoning Herbs de Provence. A combination of dried green herbs like thyme, savory, and oregano, Herbs de Provence also usually contains lavender.
If you’re thinking that your chicken is going to taste like Grandma’s potpourri, don’t. The lavender adds a floral hint to the herbs when you smell it, but doesn’t overwhelm the flavor at all. If I hadn’t told you it was in there, you never would have known.
Plus, lavender makes it look very cool. You can find Herbs de Provence in almost any grocery store. I bought mine at The Spice & Tea Exchange in Winter Park/Orlando. (I’m out of control in that store and in their sister olive oil and fancy vinegar store across the street.)
Very little chopping for this recipe…
You need at least 6 shallots. Not red onions, shallots. There is a flavor difference that makes a big difference in this recipe. Shallots are much milder and will sweeten up even more as this cooks.
Peel the shallots and cut them in half lengthwise.
Garlic! You’re going to think I’m crazy, but you can add a lot of garlic to this recipe. Easily 8-10 cloves. Peel them and leave them whole.
Like the famous Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe, this garlic will cook down into a smooth, sweet essence of garlic.
This is not an overwhelmingly garlic flavored dish. In fact, next time I make it, I will probably go ahead and use the entire head of garlic.
Grab a baking dish big enough to accommodate your chicken. Pour 3 Tablespoons of olive oil into the dish and tip it to coat the bottom in oil.
The original recipe calls for 4 chicken leg/thigh combos….you know, the big piece with the leg and thigh still attached.
I happened to already have a cut up fryer in the fridge (2 breasts, 2 thighs, and 2 legs) so I used that and it worked great. I loved having both light and dark meat as you would with a whole Roast Chicken.
Season the chicken with salt & pepper.
Place about 1/2 cup of flour (gluten free flour works fine) on a plate and season the flour with salt & pepper.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and shake off any excess so they have a nice light coating.
Place the chicken in the oil covered baking dish.
Cut a lemon in half and then into 4ths so you have 8 pieces. Tuck the lemon in around the chicken.
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of Herbs de Provence on and around the chicken.
2 Tablespoons will seem like a lot of herbs but use it all. Herbs de Provence has a mild flavor to start and gets even more mellow as the chicken cooks.
Tuck your shallots and garlic in around the chicken and then pour 1 cup of dry white vermouth in the pan.
If you’re a martini drinker, you’re already familiar with vermouth. Vermouth is one of the “fortified wines” which means wine that has been distilled with some sort of herbs, bark, or sweetener.
This recipe uses dry white vermouth which is found in any store that sells wine. My regular grocery store carries it. DEFINITELY be sure you have DRY & WHITE vermouth not sweet vermouth.
Because it has a totally different and lighter flavor, you’ll want to use vermouth rather than white wine in this recipe.
It was Cody’s good suggestion to increase the vermouth to 1 cup so that you will have plenty of basting liquid and awesome sauce at the end.
There it is, all ready to go! See the little flecks of lavender?
Bake the chicken in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour.
After 30 minutes, pull it out and baste or spoon the juices over the chicken to keep it moist.
I actually basted mine once again right before it was done just to be sure the breast meat stayed juicy.
After 1 hour (or the chicken reaches 165º on a meat thermometer) you will have a golden pan of chicken goodness.
The meat is flavorful and tender, the shallots have caramelized, the garlic has become a thing of pure garlic glory, and like magic, the pan is filled with tasty sauce.
Couldn’t be easier.
If you have a nice crusty loaf of French bread, grab it and start dipping into that sauce.
I made some quick mashed potatoes so I could capture every last bit of sauce.
Serve the chicken garnished with fresh thyme if you have it and dig in!
You will not believe how delicious this chicken is.
Promise me you’ll have Chicken Provencal SOON!
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from The New York Times