Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chicken in Vermouth with Tomatoes, Peppers & Herbs

As most of you know, I work in a kitchenware store, and the long hours coming up for the next couple of weeks are keeping me from experimenting in the kitchen. So what you'll find posted here is just like TV in the summer: reruns. I'll be posting some of my more popular and interesting posts for the next couple of weeks, and will be back with new recipes and rants in the New Year. May you all have all the best and happiest things in your life for the Christmas Season and in the New Year. And thank you for coming along for the ride with me so far.

This is one of those "fall back on" recipes that are so easy and good at any time of year, but truly spectacular when you can get garden fresh vegetables and herbs. Another beauty of this dish is that it works with fresh chicken,  leftover chicken or even a rotisserie chicken.

The vegetables, garlic and herbs I've used have come from my own garden, but at this time of year, it would be a shame to make it with canned tomatoes and frozen peppers if you have access to any sort of fresh, locally grown produce. All the summer vegetables and herbs are at their peak right now. Leave the canned and frozen  vegetables for when the snow flies in January.

Italian vermouth is both sweet and herbal, and adds a lot of depth of flavor to this dish. Other red wine is good, but the vermouth really makes it sing. There are plenty of savory juices that are perfect over pasta or rice, or with a nice chunk of crusty baguette. This a sophisticated comfort food at its best.

Chicken in Vermouth with Tomatoes, Peppers & Herbs

The actual hands-on time is about 15 minutes, but it tastes like
 you've slaved all day.

4 lb. of raw chicken parts, with skin, or a cooked 4-lb. chicken  cut into portions
2T olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 large onion, one thinly sliced, one diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large yellow or orange bell peppers, diced
1/4 cup  fresh basil leaves
3T fresh oregano leaves
2 T fresh rosemary leaves, lightly chopped
Kosher salt, pepper
1 cup sweet Italian vermouth


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and oil a broad, shallow oven-to-table baking dish that will mostly hold the chicken in a single layer. If you are starting with raw chicken, heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick sauté pan and place the chicken skin-side down. Cook for about 5-7 minutes over medium high heat until the skin is browned. Place the chicken in one layer in the pan.  Proceed to step 3.

2. If you are using cooked chicken, place it in the prepared baking dish, and then heat the oil in the pan.

3. Add the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, basil and diced onions to the chicken pan or the heated oil, and cook until soft. Scrape the tomato and pepper mixture evenly over the chicken. Separate the sliced onions into rings and spread them out evenly over the tomato mixture, and then scatter the oregano and rosemary over the top and season with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Drizzle the vermouth back and forth over all, cover tightly with aluminum foil or a lid, if your dish has one.

4. Place in the oven and bake for 1-1/2 hours if using raw chicken, and just 1 hour if using pre-cooked chicken.

Serves 4.
Looks good, even before baking.

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