Red Wine-Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives
This is a great make-ahead dish; it creates its own sauce during cooking and can be easily reheated. It's braised, so the chicken is really tender and juicy. You do want to make sure that you don't overcook the chicken, however. Check it by sticking a skewer, toothpick, or small knife into the thickest part of the breast and thigh. If it goes in and comes out easily, it's done. Serve this with soft polenta (with butter, salt, and pepper to taste), or with mashed potatoes flavored with a few drops of white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil instead of the usual butter.
Wine suggestion: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, or Côtes du Rhône
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 frying chicken (4 pounds), cut into 6 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, or Côtes du Rhône)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup Kalamata or Niçoise olives, pitted
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves as a garnish
Place the garlic cloves in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, drain the garlic and discard the water. Repeat. Set the garlic aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large heavy flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer, leaving space between the pieces. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until light golden on each side, 10 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour off the excess fat. Increase the heat to high, add the wine to the pan, and reduce by approximately half, 10 minutes. Return the drumsticks and thighs to the pan, along with the garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the breasts and continue to cook, covered, until the juices from the chicken are clear, 15 to 20 minutes.
Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside; cover with foil to keep warm. Adjust the heat to high, add the olives and capers to the pan, and simmer until the liquid reduces by half and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. (The chicken and sauce can be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated. Bring the sauce back to a simmer before continuing.)
Return the chicken to the pan and heat thoroughly, 5 to 10 minutes. Arrange the chicken on a platter and drizzle the sauce over the top. Garnish with parsley, and serve.