Chicken Braised with Red Wine Vinegar & Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

By Cat, Jul 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Chicken alla Cacciatora (Hunters’ Chicken); 2. Braised Italian Game Hen, with Green Beans, Tomatoes & Olives; 3. Italian-Style Chicken, Braised with Green Beans, Tomatoes & Olives

I’m always on the lookout for ways to use braised poultry; this recipe is fairly quick (if you use boneless meat) and promises to be delicious. The original recipe uses boneless thighs, each cut into 4 pieces. Brined chicken breasts could also be used. This can be served as is, perhaps with some rustic bread, or with pasta.

After testing, I’ve concluded this is delicious, but needs to be served with pasta or gnocchi. I tested with a combination of balsamic and red wine vinegar and can recommend that variation.

Chicken Braised with Red Wine Vinegar & Tomatoes

I’ve adapted this version from Fine Cooking (1), originally by Nadia Arumugam. The original serves 4; I’ve cut it to serve 2. See below for testing.

Many of the recipes from Fine Cooking heat olive oil over medium-high heat until ‘shimmering,’ before adding meat to sear. However, I believe olive oil cannot withstand that much heat; its unsaturated fatty acids will begin to oxidize and form free-radicals. To avoid this damage I prefer to use a lower heat (medium), and not heat until ‘shimmering.’ Alternately, add a bit of lard or coconut oil, which have a fair amount of saturated fatty acids to protect the olive oil. See Good Fats for Cooking, for more on this.

I’ve made dishes similar to this, to serve over pasta, and one of the ideas I include is to cut up broccoli or broccolini into florets, and braise with the chicken. I’ve included this idea in the Serving Suggestions.

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs or breasts, or mix of these (brine breast meat for 30 minutes)
  • ¼ cup unbleached white flour or tapioca starch (½ cup)
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt (skip this if you brined the meat)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil, or mix of olive oil and lard or coconut oil
  • ½ small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes, drained (or canned diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar (or 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar plus 1 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar)
  • ¼ cup homemade Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • bowl for brining
  • paper bag
  • 12″ cast iron skillet


Brine & Prep:

  1. If using bone-in meat, remove from bone; leave skin on if you wish.
  2. If using chicken breast meat, brine for 30 minutes; you can also brine thighs, too, if you wish, but they tend to retain moisture better than breasts without brining. Remove from brine, rinse and pat dry. Cut thighs into 4 pieces; breast halves into 8 pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the half onion thinly; mince the garlic. dice the tomatoes and drain off liquids and seeds.
  4. Measure flour/starch into bag; add salt (if meat is not brined) and pepper and shake to combine. Add chicken pieces, 2 at a time, and shake to coat with flour. Remove pieces to plate and repeat until all the pieces are floured.

Cook & Braise

  1. Heat olive oil (and lard, if using) in skillet over medium heat (medium-high if using lard). Add chicken pieces in a single layer and cook until golden about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. If necessary, do the chicken in two batches, adding more fat for the second batch if needed.
  2. Add onion and cook, over medium-low to medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more, stirring.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar(s) and continue to boil until almost evaporated, about 30 seconds.
  4. Braise: Return chicken and accumulated juices to pan; add stock and stir well to combine. If adding broccoli/broccolini or snow peas, add them now. Bring again to a boil, then reduce to maintain a simmer; cook, partially covered, and stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 – 8 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Add parsley, cover, and cook 1 minute more. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add broccoli or broccolini florets to pot halfway through the braising of the chicken. Or try fresh snow peas.
  • Accompany with braised or steamed green beans or snap peas, and a crusty bread to mop up the juices.
  • Serve over cooked pasta, with a salad of greens and goat cheese, with basil-balsamic dressing.


7/8/14: Made as written except with following changes: used 1.2 lb (5 each) Organic boneless chicken thighs, (did not brine); however, only needed ¼ cup flour to coat. Used 1 large locally grown Beefsteak tomato, diced. For part of the onion, I used a fresh garlic scape from my garden, sliced thinly on diagonal. Used 1 Tbsp balsamic and 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar. Result: This is very good, and easy to fix. However, it definitely needs to be combined with pasta or gnocchi.


  1. Fine Cooking recipe, originally by Nadia Arumugam (

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