Chicken Provençal sounds much fancier than it really is. For all those comfort food fans, this is your jam… chicken and summer veggies in a simple but luscious pan sauce. At first glance, it appears to have a daunting number of steps, but rest assured… that’s just the best way to reduce the number of pots and pans to clean later. Tender boiled new potatoes, blanched green beans and sweet cherry tomatoes balance out the intensely flavored, silky sauce, which is nestled together with the most incredible chicken thighs you’ve ever had! A perfectly seasoned, crispy exterior holds in the juicy flavor for an anything-but-boring weeknight chicken dish.
10-14 boneless chicken thighs (approximately 4 pounds)
1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 pound baby potatoes (dutch yellow, red, fingerling, etc.), washed and halved or quartered
salt and pepper for seasoning
almond flour, tapioca flour, AP flour or a combination (for dusting chicken)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for approximately 3 minutes, until just cooked through and bright green. They will cook a bit more later, so don’t overcook now or they will become mushy. With a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, remove the beans from the water (save that boiling pot of water for the potatoes) and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let them sit in the water until they’re no longer hot… about 1 minute. This stops the cooking process. Drain the beans and let them dry on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
Add the prepared potatoes to the pot of boiling water and let them cook for approximately 13-15 minutes. They should just be fork-tender when pierced, not falling apart. Then drain them into a colander over the sink. Meanwhile, start cooking the chicken thighs.
Prepare the chicken by seasoning each side with salt and pepper, then a sprinkling of the flour(s). I like to use plain ol’ all-purpose flour on most occasions, but when eating Whole 30 meals or entertaining friends with gluten-free diets, I will substitute half with fine blanched almond meal and half with tapioca flour. Heat about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet (enough to coat the surface), over medium high heat. Brown half of the batch of chicken (to not crowd the pan) for 4-5 minutes, then flip over and brown the other side for another 4 minutes. Resist the urge to keep lifting the chicken to “see if it’s ready” to turn over. Chances are… it won’t be! Letting the chicken do it’s thing ensures the surface becomes that crispy, golden brown color we all look forward to eating. Lifting it too early causes the chicken to stick to the pan and not cook properly. Remove the first batch of chicken to a platter and lightly cover with foil (to keep warm) while you start browning the next batch.
Once all the chicken has been cooked and is resting on the platter, add another tablespoon of olive oil, thyme, shallots and garlic to the skillet with the fond (that’s the dark brown bits left behind from the chicken.) Reduce the heat to medium and sauté for a minute. The garlic should become fragrant, not burnt, and the shallot will begin to soften. Now it’s time to start building the pan sauce.
Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water. With a wooden spoon or spatula, start de-glazing the pan by scraping up the fond on the bottom. You’ll notice it start to loosen up and become a silky brown sauce as it thickens. This is the magic happening!
Swirl in the butter and let it begin to melt. Next, add all the chicken and juices back to the pan. All of it. The green beans and potatoes, too. It’s going to get cozy in there, but that’s ok… snuggle it in there. You want everything to bask in the glory of that sauce, thinly coating all the surfaces. Give everything a little sprinkle of salt and pepper, another loving stir, and garnish with some fresh thyme.
Serve and enjoy!
Yield: approximately 6 servings.