In honor of Les Bleus’ attempt at a second consecutive World Cup tomorrow, here is my take on a classic French dish, chicken Provencal. Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs are braised in white wine alongside shallots, garlic, tomatoes, olives, and chard, creating succulent meat, tender vegetables, and an absolutely stunning sauce. Definitely pick up a good baguette or two, as you will be sopping up every single drop.
Make sure that you use good olives for this, as those briny pops of flavor are one of the highlights of the dish. If you can find a pitted medley at the olive bar, that’s perfect. If you don’t have access to a good olive bar, half pitted kalamatas and half garlic-stuffed greens make a great combination as well. Stay away from bland canned olives at all costs.
Beyond the olives, there isn’t too much to worry about, it’s a simple braised dish. Typically it would be finished in the oven, but it works just fine on the stovetop as well.
Allez Les Bleus!
3 lbs. chicken thighs
1 tbsp herbs de provence
2 cups shallots, quartered
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup large green olives (I like garlic-stuffed)
1 cup kalamata olives
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch chard, coarsely chopped
1 cup sauvignon blanc
1 cup chicken broth
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
Pat the chicken thighs dry and then salt liberally. Add the herbs de Provence as well.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot to medium-high and add a good amount of olive oil. Place the thighs in, skin side down and allow to brown nicely. Flip, and brown the other side as well. Then remove the chicken thighs to a plate.
Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the garlic brown.
Pour in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan. Then add the wine, chard, tomatoes, and olives. Nestle the chicken thighs on top, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed, remove the lid and simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Then remove from heat.
Stir in the sugar and vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.
Serve with a nice big hunk of good bread per person and/or rice. And a bit more of that wine.