Sweet and sour Italian chicken
Today I’m sharing with you a recipe which is the result of my grandmothers’ fortes, adding my personal touch: a few more spices, wintery flavors and sweet contrasts. The classic chicken thighs of Nonna Tere meet the balsamic vinegar sauce of Nonna Maria Teresa, creating an amazing and unforgettable main course.
Even though I asked to my grandmas the exact process and ingredients of their top recipes, when I make them by my own, they never taste as theirs: I do not know what that is, but whatever they cook has a special and inexplicable flavor. Perhaps is the flavor of love, passion and sweetness that every mom, every Nonna puts in those courses.
Small things, small gestures which I’ll always remember, as well as those recipes, flavors and those Sundays spent together with my family.
Thank you so much, “Nonne”.
I love you.
- 6 chicken thighs
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 sage leaves
- 2 rosemary springs
- 100-150 grams medium-sized carrots
- 20 grams pine nuts
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 5 grams (1 tsp) corn starch
- 55 grams red wine
- 40 grams Italian balsamic vinegar
- the juice from 1 orange
- 1 tsp honey
- hot vegetable broth as needed
- black pepper
- olive oil
- fistly, wash under running cold water your chicken thighs and dry them accurately. Then, using a pair of scissors, remove the excess skin. In a medium bowl, combine your chicken thighs, 1 garlic clove (peeled and crushed), a pinch of cinnamon and ginger, salt, black pepper, sage and rosemary. Drizzle with a little olive oil and mix to combine, so that all the flavors get evenly distributed. Set that aside for about 10 minutes.
- meanwhile, prepare your carrots: wash, peel and trim them. Cut carrots in half, and then into quarters. Cut even chunks of about 1 1/2 ” (3-4 cm) long. Set them aside.
- in a small skillet, toast on high heat pine nuts, making sure to constantly stir, so that they don’t burn. As soon as they get golden, remove them immediately from the skillet. Set them aside as well.
- after the resting time, in a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat about 1 tbs olive oil and start searing the chicken thighs, for about 4 minutes, making sure to arrange them skin side down. As soon as the skin gets golden and slightly brown, flip the chicken so that the meat side is down and let that sear as well, about 2 minutes. During this step, the fats contained in the skin of the chicken will melt: simply, remove the excess fat; you should end up just with a thin coat in the skillet.
- at this point, on medium heat, add the red wine and let it evaporate for a few minutes and, as soon as you won’t be able to smell the alcohol anymore, pour in the balsamic vinegar as well. Let it evaporate too (it’ll take about 1-2 minutes) and then add the chopped carrots and pine nuts. Stir to combine. Now reduce the heat on medium-low. Combine about 1/2 glass of hot vegetable broth with the tomato paste, give it a stir and add it to the skillet. Lastly, season with salt and a touch of black pepper and add the juice from 1 orange. Cover with a slightly opened lid and keep cooking it for about 30-40 minutes, always on medium-low heat. Remember to flip the chicken thighs every once in a while. During the cooking time, add some more hot broth if necessary.
- once the chicken thighs will be fully cooked and tender, combine 1/2 glass of hot broth with the corn starch. Give it a stir and pour it in the skillet. Let the sauce thicken for about 2 minutes and you’ll see: a rich and velvety sauce will start to cover your chicken thighs. Last step: add the honey and flip a few times the chicken, so that you’ll end up with a glossy sauce. If the sauce looks too thick, simply add a splash of broth.
As you may know, it’s pretty impossible to beat grandmas in cooking. But by putting together their best recipes, I can at least hope not to be humiliate.
That was my story, my version of sweet and sour Italian chicken; I’m waiting for yours.
XOXO Cooker Girl.