This recipe holds a very special place in my heart. It was created by me after having these ingredients to hand, but not having any idea what to make. I decided to break the rules and pour half a bottle of balsamic vinegar and red wine into the pot along with a huge bunch of fresh basil. Well, let me tell you my kitchen smelled incredible. I let it gently simmer until it was reduced by half, and just like that this fabulous recipe was born. I have created a lot of original recipes over the years, but this one is my favourite.
When my father came to live with us, I made this dish one day. I didn't expect him to particularly like it, being a very hardcore traditionalist to our Portuguese cuisine.
Well, he not only loved it, but exclaimed, and I quote, " mulher por que que não tens um restaurant?"
(Why don't you have a restaurant?)
Honestly, we all giggled. He said it without looking up at me, while shoveling the food into his mouth. He kept shaking his head after each bite and exclaiming mm...mm.... afterwards.
It was so very touching and one of the reasons I just love feeding people. To me it is pure love...the best kind.
It meant a lot coming from him. I miss him, and this dish reminds me of him every time I make it.
It is comfort and love in a bowl, made exponentially better by ladling atop Parmesan and butter loaded mashed potatoes.
This dish can be made 1 day ahead, as with all braises, to taste even better!
Chicken Braised in Red Wine with Balsamic Vinegar Basil & Borlotti Beans
650 g. Boneless and skinless chicken thigh fillets, feel free to use any part of the chicken, I just prefer the thighs.
400 g. Canned Borlotti Beans (aka Rosecoco ) undrained
150 g. Sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained loosely, do not worry too much about oil :)
100 g. Smoked pancetta or bacon lardons
100 g. fresh basil bunch, roughly chopped, reserve a few leaves to garnish dish to serve
500 g. Hot water*
300 ml. Full bodied Red wine, such as Portuguese Dão Touriga Nacional or French Côtes du Rhône, my faves
150 ml. Balsamic vinegar of Modena
80 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Tomato paste concentrate
1 Large Echalion shallot, if you can't find this variety, use any sweet onion, chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves, equal to roughly, 1 tbsp.of garlic finely chopped
2 Chicken stock cubes*
Crushed red chilli flakes, to taste (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
* Feel free to sub 500 ml. of hot water and the 2 chicken stock cubes for homemade or ready-made store bought chicken stock/broth
In a high sided saute pan, add olive oil, shallot, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and pancetta.
Dissolve 2 chicken stock cubes in the 500 ml. of hot water
Saute on a medium heat, stirring often, until pancetta is rendered and onion and garlic are super fragrant.
Add chicken and tomato paste, stir and let cook 1 minute. Add pepper, basil and remaining ingredients.
Stir, and let simmer, uncovered on medium heat for 45 minutes. Stirring often to prevent beans from sticking as sauce reduces and thickens. Lower heat if necessary.
After 20 minutes, taste and adjust salt if needed.
After 45 minutes, scatter on reserved basil, stir and serve.