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Balsamic chicken is delicious. Chicken, tomatoes, onions, balsamic vinegar and some other things come together to make the ultimate meal. Whether you’re short on time, or have all afternoon it’s a breeze to make. The best part? If you’ve got a vegetarian in the family, you can just leave the chicken out, the sauce is that good. But we’ll get to that in a minute. 

If you couldn’t tell from my last post, I’m new to balsamic vinegar, yet I absolutely adore it. Recently, I was able to make the chicken in my own kitchen (okay, Josh’s kitchen, but I practically live there) for his family.

The morning was a busy one. Josh and I went to Denny’s for breakfast and then went to a handful of other stores. Costco to pick up the balsamic, and then Big Y to get everything else. It was just shy of noon before we got home and I started in the kitchen while he went to do homework.

The windows were thrown wide open when I gathered the ingredients, a slight breeze ruffling the bag on the counter as I unloaded things.

Just some ingredients-
Back, left to right: 1 can of crushed tomatoes (28oz), box of light brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
Front, left to right: 1 bulb garlic, 1 medium yellow onion and whole wheat egg noodles.
Not shown: Ketchup, chicken (sorry about that)

My favourite part about cooking this is chopping up the onions and garlic. When this was originally made over my friends house, we didn’t chop the onions too fine so that she could pick them out. I followed suit here and kept the onions in the form of little discs.

After chopping up a whole onion and setting it aside, I set about with the garlic. Though the original recipe calls for only two cloves of garlic, or something of that sort, I went with five. To me, there’s no such thing as too much garlic.

Garlic-
It was supposed to look like a sunshine, but I didn’t even think to take the picture from the top view facing down before I moved it.

I’ve been spoiled at home. Instead of getting my hands “dirty”, we have a garlic press that makes it a breeze to add garlic to things without mincing and chopping. Josh’s kitchen doesn’t have one of those, so I was able to peel and chop the garlic. My hands still have a slight garlic aroma to them, but I’m not complaining.

While I had been chopping garlic, there was a pan on the stove with a tablespoon of olive oil heating up in it over medium heat. Ever since I’ve been cooking, I’ve been learning that you don’t always need high heat. Especially when it comes to cooking eggs or sautéeing onions and garlic. Medium heat works just as well and it gives you more control. The only time you really want high heat is when you’re trying to brown/fry something, like chicken. But that’s another post. For now, let’s stick with the project at hand: sautéeing garlic and onions.

Garlic, Onions and a touch of pepper

I let the onion and garlic cook until the onions were translucent and the garlic was golden and puffed up (about five-six minutes). Next the crushed tomatoes, ketchup, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar went in. I kept the heat at medium and put a lid on it, letting it simmer undisturbed for fifteen minutes (no, the recipe doesn’t call for you to do that, I did so because I wanted the flavours to blend before I added the chicken in)

After fifteen minutes, I added the chicken, reduced the heat and let it cook for an hour.

After an hour the sauce reduced a little bit and the chicken was definitely cooked through, but I was aiming to get the chicken fall apart tender.

Sure, you can take the dish off the stove at this point. The chicken was fully cooked through, but I was aiming to make the chicken more tender and flavourful so after flipping it, I let it cook for another hour. In that hour, I appreciated the beautiful weather we were having that afternoon and just relaxed. This meal is beautiful for that, you can just set it on the stove and nearly forget about it. Naturally, you don’t want to go off and too many other things because you do have to stir it every so often so nothing burns to the bottom of the pan, but you get the idea. This is ideal for those afternoons when you’re looking for something heart-warming without a whole bunch of work.

After two hours of bubbling away on the stove.

In the last half hour before turning off the heat, I cooked the egg noodles. Finally after two hours where the house smelled heavenly and it was becoming irresistible to touch, I was able to plate.

Plated. To add more to the healthiness of this meal, I used whole wheat egg noodles versus regular pasta.

After taking the first bite, I realised it was just as good as when I had it with my friend at her house. However, mine was more saucy. This wasn’t a bad thing on her or my part, but I chose to go with crushed tomatoes versus whole, peeled tomatoes. In this way, I think I skewed the recipe because I would have loved to have nibbles of tomato chunks in the sauce. I missed it in my dish and that is something I won’t play with next time I make this. I’ll use diced tomatoes and thicken the sauce with a touch of tomato paste. Other than the missing tomatoes, the dish as a whole was delicious and as I said, just as I remembered. The chicken was juicy and flavourful, falling apart on my fork. It was an afternoon well spent.

~Recipe: Balsamic Chicken & Noodles~

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP oil (canola, vegetable or olive oil works really well here)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into discs
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 (14 oz/396.89 g) cans of diced tomatoes (you can get them seasoned with oregano and basil, a touch of green chilies or unseasoned. I would go with oregano and basil, personally)
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz/177.44 mL) tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/59.14 mL) Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 4 chicken breasts

Method:

  1. In a medium deep bottom skillet, warm oil until shimmery over medium heat. You know it is sufficiently heated when it bubbles after sticking a wooden spoon in it. Add the onions and garlic, sautéeing them until the onion is translucent and the garlic is golden and puffy.
  2. Add tomatoes, ketchup, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, stirring to combine. When well combined, add chicken breasts, spooning the mixture over them. Reduce the heat, put a lid on it and let it cook for a half hour.
  3. Carefully flip the chicken breasts over and let cook an additional half hour.
  4. Serve over pasta or rice.

Until next time-

Xx Steffanni

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