I have always loved poultry, but I was a little biased and thought that white meat was the only way to go. I honestly spent most of my adult life only eating the breast meat of our Thanksgiving turkey, and choosing only chicken breasts when I had the option of white meat or dark. It wasn’t until we started buying those big economy packs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs at Costco a couple of years ago that I realized what I had been missing. Though I still love well prepared chicken breasts, I have learned to appreciate the fact that thighs and legs actually have more flavor, stay moist when cooked, and are extremely versatile. I always remove the skin from chicken thighs before I cook them, but it is a well known fact that meat tends to stay moist when still on the bone, so unless I am stuffing the thighs or legs, I do leave the meat on the bone when cooking it.
This is a simple one pot dish that is a great mid-week meal the whole family will enjoy. You could serve it with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta because there is a lot of sauce. This is similar to Chicken Cacciatore, except it includes a good deal of pancetta and not a lot of other vegetables which isn’t typical in most cacciatore recipes. You could if you prefer, add some tasty black olives, or some sautéed mushrooms which would both be tasty additions.
Deborah Mele 2013
Chicken Thighs With Pancetta & Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Ounces Diced Pancetta (Or Bacon)
8 Medium Sized Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Medium Onion, Diced
4 Large Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
1 (400g) Can Diced Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Chopped Rosemary
1 Teaspoon Chopped Thyme
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1/2 Teaspoon Red Hot Pepper Flakes (Optional)
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Chopped Fresh Parsley
In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the pancetta until cooked through and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pancetta to a plate, set aside, and brown the thighs well on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken to the plate and cook the onions until translucent and soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant.
Add the wine, increase heat to medium high heat, and cook just until the wine is reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes if using.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and return the chicken and pancetta to the pot.
Cover the pan, and cook over low heat for 20 minute, or until the sauce has thickened, adding additional water as needed if the sauce thickens too much.
Taste the sauce, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and place the chicken on a platter.
Top with the sauce, then sprinkle with the chopped fresh parsley.