It’s hard to talk about braised chicken when people across Texas are experiencing so much suffering after the devastating hurricane. I commented to a friend the other day that writing about cooking seems so tone-deaf right now. There’s a helpless feeling that seeps in while witnessing so many people, children, animals, and, well, just so many lives suddenly displaced. It’s hard not to feel that any help I can provide is just a drop in a very deep bucket. It’s overwhelming.
But like the recent solar eclipse, I am heartened by the power that pulls people together with a singular focus. In the case of Harvey, I’m reminded of what Fred Rogers (aka the famed Mr. Rogers) once said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
So when I sat down this morning to type out a few words I wrestled for a while with what to say. Saying nothing seemed callous and out of touch, but saying too much didn’t feel quite right, either. So, I’ll finish with this: Stay strong Texas. You’re in our hearts and prayers.
And because talking about food is what I do I’m going to do that after the photo. But first, in case you want to help but don’t know where to start, here’s an article from Forbes that lays out some things to consider: Helping Out After Hurricane Harvey. I found it helpful.
Braised Chicken Bucatini
I’ve been in full-throttle fall mode the last few weeks and nothing signifies the season more than stirring a simmering pot. Braised chicken bucatini is a low and slowish cooking project. Slowish because it doesn’t take hours to make, but it’s more of a weekend cooking exercise than a got-to-get-dinner-on-the-table weeknight quick dinner hit.
As my friend Bridget reminded me last week not everyone is running with arms wide open into fall. While shocking to me, I’m willing to compromise and not go full-on cold weather cooking just yet. So, think of this braised chicken as a transitional dish. It’s a little bit summer and little bit fall with slow cooked chicken thighs in a bright sauce flavored with pancetta, fresh thyme, and marinated artichoke hearts. It’s all done on the stove (no hot oven required) and, if you make it (and I hope you do), you’ll discover it’s a flexible recipe. Open to tweaks and substitutions you can evolve it as the weather gets cooler (Sorry, B, but it’s gonna happen).
I used pancetta which is an Italian-style bacon but substitute regular bacon if want a smoky sauce. Switching the herbs up changes things flavor-wise, too. I like the subtle lemony flavor of fresh thyme, but if you have fresh basil add some to make a more summery dish (stir it in right at the end). Or, add a bay leaf and some rosemary when you simmer the chicken to make it more fall-wintry.
No matter how you make this recipe your own, serving the tender chicken with some pasta tossed in the sauce makes a comforting dinner. And something comforting seems like a good thing right now.
More Fall Chicken RecipesPrint
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 4 chicken thighs, seasoned with kosher salt
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 5 sprigs thyme
- Salt, to taste
- 10-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 8 ounces bucatini
- Cook the pancetta in a large pan over medium heat until it starts to render its fat. Push the pancetta to the edges of the pan leaving a space in the middle. Increase the heat to medium high and place the chicken thighs skin-side down in the pan with the pancetta and cook until the skin is golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook it until it starts to release its moisture. You may need to lower the heat to medium to prevent the onions from browning too fast. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the tomato paste and stir until it thins and coats the onions and garlic. Add the diced tomatoes and the chicken stock into the pan and raise the heat to medium high until the stock is simmering. Scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Add the thyme sprigs and chicken, skin-side down, in the stock. Place a lid on the pan slightly offset so some steam can escape. Maintain a simmer and let the chicken braise for 30 minutes.
- After the chicken has cooked for 15-20 minutes, bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to package directions (about 7-8 minutes for bucatini). Drain the pasta.
- Check that the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature should be 165 degrees) and remove it from the pan. Discard the thyme stems, taste the sauce and add more salt if needed. Add the artichoke hearts and gently stir them into the sauce to warm them up. Add the cooked pasta and toss lightly to coat it in the sauce. Serve the pasta with the chicken.
- Calories: 747
- Fat: 34.4g
- Carbohydrates: 64.7g
- Fiber: 7.6g
- Protein: 45.4g