Chicken Provencal is a French recipe perfect for the summer thanks to the fresh notes given from the herbs and fresh tomatoes. The chicken is reduced into pieces, then pan-fried and slow cooked along with shallots, black olives, bell peppers, and tomato pulp. Served just cooked is delicious, but reheated the day after it is even better!
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FRESH TOMATO PULP
In case, canned tomato pulp is a decent choice, but fresh ripe tomatoes, if available, are much better!
To prepare fresh tomatoes pulp, incise the skin of tomatoes with a sharp knife: you need to make a cross as long as the length of the vegetable. After that, poach the tomatoes 3 minutes into a pot filled with boiling water and 2 tbsp of salt.
Finally, raise the tomatoes and peel them as soon as possible, then mince and store into a bowl.
FRESH AND DRIED HERBS
The chicken provencal requires two different herbs bouquets: one dried and one fresh.
Commonly, the dried bouquet is composed by rosemary and thyme and is added at the beginning along with the tomatoes pulp.
The fresh bouquet is generally composed of parsley, mint, and basil. Some chefs also add marjoram, some other prefer use jus parsley. The fresh herbs are finely minced and added at the last minute, far from the heat.
ONIONS OR SHALLOTS
Yellow onions or shallots are both traditional ingredients, so this choice depends on your taste. Personally, I love to use previously seared shallots, but if you prefer the onions, peel and mince them before sautéing along with a splash of olive oil, then add the tomato pulp.
FLOUR OR NOT FLOUR?
Some chefs prefer flour the chicken pieces before pan-frying them. I prefer to avoid this step, to conserve better the freshness of the sauce.
CHICKEN PROVENCAL RECIPE
- 1 chicken
- 3 bell peppers, mixed colors
- 8 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 12 oz (350 g) fresh tomatoes (alternatively, tomato pulp)
- 16 black olives
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp mixed fresh herbs (mint, basil, and parsley)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- to taste table salt
- FIRST STEPS
First of all, reduce the chicken into pieces (or buy them already separated). The tradition wants the chicken skin on, but If you prefer, discard the skin.
Now, peel the shallots and cut them into halves.
Then, peel and crush the garlic cloves.
Finally, cut the bell peppers, discard the stems and seeds, then reduce into pieces or sticks.
- PAN-FRIED VEGETABLES
At this point, pour 6 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil into a skillet (best if cast iron), then place over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, but not smoky, pan-fry the shallots and garlic until golden and slightly brown (not burned). Finally, raise the shallots and store into a bowl.
In the same skillet and same oil, pan-fry the bell peppers as well.
- PAN-FRIED CHICKEN
In the same skillet and with the same oil, pan-fry the chicken pieces until golden, then raise the meat and store in a plate, saving the oil. If needed, add more olive oil during the frying.
- CHICKEN PROVENCAL
Now, add the fresh tomatoes pulp or canned pulp (take a look on the paragraph above "FRESH TOMATO PULP" for more information) into the skillet with the oil used to fry the vegetables and chicken.
After that, place the pan over low heat, add the bell pepper, the shallots, the rosemary, and the thyme, then cover and cook until the chicken is well done (about 1 hour and 15 mins).
If you are preparing the chicken Provencal in advance, let the skillet reach room temperature, then store covered into the fridge up to 3 days. Once ready to serve, reheat slowly and proceed with the next step
- FINISHING AND SERVING
10 minutes before ready, add the black olives and the lemon juice, add salt to taste and keep cooking a few minutes more. Once ready, add the minced fresh herbs and a sprinkle of black pepper, then serve immediately.
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