Braised Chicken Ligurian Style

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Braised Chicken - finish with script

Buon giorno!

I love to braise! It is an easy technique that is difficult to mess up and produces a slow cooked meat with a usually rich sauce. The Ligurians in their northwestern region of Italy are known for an easy preparation of chicken which is braised. You’ll find recipes for this prep that run the gamut of differences. This is the way I like to make my BRAISED CHICKEN LIGURIAN STYLE!

Braising is a wonderful way to cook meats. It involves an initial sear or browning on both sides of the meat and then the addition of the ingredients that will bubble together and do the work for you. From there, in just a few minutes you have an amazing dish with a dense sauce and rich complex flavor. There is nothing complicated about it.

When making this easy dish, you can, of course, use any part of the chicken you prefer. I like to use thighs for this as they produce such a tender and juicy result and are economical. This is a dish that cooks up in minutes, yielding a rich sauce that fools your family and guests into thinking you spent the day preparing a dish just for them! NOT!

Many recipes for this type of chicken dish call for different choices of ingredients and often times white wine. Keep in mind when choosing your ingredients to use fresh herbs and garlic, if possible. They make SUCH a difference! I like to introduce another level of flavor by using Marsala wine. It works so well with the selection of ingredients. Marsala is a fortified wine which means it can be kept longer than regular wine. It is available sweet or dry. I prefer the dry version when cooking chicken.

Andiamo! People are hungry!


Serves: 3-4

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: about 50 minutes


3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/3 C. Chopped Pancetta (Tip: easier to chop when partially frozen)

6 Chicken Thighs ( I like to use skinless and boneless)

1 Medium Onion – chopped

About 7 baby carrots – chopped

1 Stalk of celery – chopped

1 Clove Fresh Garlic – chopped finely

1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme leaves – chopped

2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary leaves – chopped

1 C. Marsala Wine ( I prefer dry Marsala in this) – found at most grocers or liquor stores

1/3 C. Chicken stock or broth

1/2 lb. Mushrooms – sliced or whole – your preference

1 Tbsp. Capers – rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp. Pignoli

(Many recipes use olives in this dish. If you want to add them – about a 1/2 c. is fine)


In the Olive Oil, cook the pancetta about 3 minutes.

Braised Chicken Ligurian Style 1

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the pan, browning on both sides.

Remove the chicken to a platter.

To the same pan, now add the onion, carrots and celery – cook about 5 minutes to soften.

Braised Chicken Ligurian Style 3

Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and return the chicken to the pan.

Pour in the wine and cook on Medium high until the sauce reduces by 1/2.

Braised Chicken Ligurian Style 5

Add the stock or broth and mushrooms.

Cover the pan, reduce heat, and continue cooking for about another 30 minutes. Half way through cook time, turn the chicken pieces over in the sauce. (If it needs more liquid, add a bit of broth)

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add your capers and pignoli.

Serve your BRAISED CHICKEN LIGURIAN STYLE over polenta, risotto, or even pasta!



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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography


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