Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So I totally cheated...

Night 1

I'm not even sure I can call this recipe wine and tomato braised chicken any more. I went to town modifying Emily's already-fast January recipe to see just how many corners I could cut and still get away with something that tastes good. I succeeded in my too-lazy-to-get-all-those-ingredients challenge.

After consulting with my co-workers who love to cook but also understand me and my general desire to "fake it, not make it," they had a couple very good suggestions for me. The first: subsitute an herb spaghetti sauce for the tomato sauce and spices listed. The second: use a red wine instead of white. Done and done!

I was able to find a spaghetti sauce that actually had garlic, thyme, fennel and parsley among other herbs in it. Thank you Robusto! Ragu (I've always been a Prego fan myself). A little bacon grease, salt, pepper, Chianti, extra minced garlic and onion mixed with Ragu - and you would never know half the sauce recipe came from a jar. I think the wine gave the sauce that extra richness it needed to rise above and beyond "just spaghetti sauce."

In the end, my (ahem) wine and tomato braised chicken was very flavorful and the chicken very tender. You almost can't go wrong cooking meat in a crock pot. Oh- and my $9 Chianti was fabulous, btw. Was great for cooking and consuming on the side, so I made sure to get it in the picture below. I served the chicken with angel hair wheat pasta and a green salad with Bayou Vinaigrette dressing from Sotto Voce (Pike Place Market), the best thing that ever happened to bagged lettuce.

As for my modified recipe, here goes:

3 slices bacon
1/4 large onion, thinly sliced (I used 1/2 but I would go 1/4 next time.)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tblsp minced garlic
1/2 cup Chianti
3/4 28-ounce can spaghetti sauce, with herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-6 boneless chicken breast halves

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble when cool.

Do not drain the bacon grease. Add wine, spaghetti sauce, onion, garlic, salt and pepper; stir well for about a minute over medium heat.

Place chicken in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Sprinkle the bacon over the chicken. Pour the spaghetti sauce mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 2 hours on High.

Night 2

Forgive me for this but I just wasn't in a real gumbo kinda mood. In fact, what I really wanted on night 2 was more of night 1. So I didn't make the gumbo (cheater, I know) but I figured the whole point of night 2 was mainly to make good use of your leftovers, and that I did. I simply added some instant white rice and broccoli seasoned with butter, salt and my favorite Spicy Garlic Oil, again from Sotto Voce. I have found flavored oils to be a lifesaver when it comes to easy cooking. Drizzle some over pasta, rice, veggies, etc. and you have a winner for dinner! In the end, leaving night 2 simple let me enjoy the chicken again in it's original form from night 1, which is really what I craved.

Two thumbs up for two good dinners! And to answer Emily's discussion point questions, I would definitely make this again and probably will. I consider these very easy and quick recipes the way I've done it and I'm sure in their original forms as well. Again, I just like to cheat...it's how I roll.


  1. Love this - just using a an herb infused red sauce totally makes sense and I bet red wine tastes better than white! I'm also a prego girl, but will have to give Ragu a try. And your oil sounds delish, we're lucky to have Pike Place so close by!

  2. Healthest we've eatin in who knows how long. And super good.