One-Pot Wonders

Flambéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

March 23, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This Burgundian dish, adapted from Anne Willan, combines whole garlic cloves simmered with tomatoes and mellowed with Cognac. I've taught it many times in a class featuring Chicken Dishes from France.

We use thighs at our house, because we prefer the dark meat, but you can use breasts if you'd rather. Please leave the meat on the bone, though. There's so much more flavor that way. - ChefJune —ChefJune

Test Kitchen Notes

The thrill of flambé is not to be missed! Chef June's recipe calls for flambéing the chicken and the 20 cloves of garlic, which gives the tomato sauce a spiced richness and depth, but without heat. The sauce is so remarkable -- I had to restrain myself from eating it as soup. I made this recipe twice: the first time brining the chicken, the second not. The brined chicken was superior in taste and tenderness. My guests loved this dish, and it is worth repeating many, many times. I can also see that, as I get more practiced, it will be fun to flambe in front of guests. Cheers to Chef June! - SKK —SKK

What You'll Need
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 20 unpeeled large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 14-ounce can imported Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bouquet garni/1 bay leaf, 4 fresh thyme sprigs & 4 parsley sprigs
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh parsley
  • fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces in batches and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet. Add garlic to skillet and stir 2 minutes.
  2. Pour off fat from skillet. Return chicken to skillet. Add cognac and heat briefly. Ignite with match. When flames subside, add tomatoes, tomato paste and bouquet garni. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, turning pieces over once, 20 minutes for white meat and 25 minutes for dark meat
  3. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent with foil to keep warm. Add stock to skillet and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing on the garlic with the back of a spoon to extract all the purée. Stir sauce over low heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Gradually whisk in remaining tablespoon butter. Adjust seasoning. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley. Garnish with fresh thyme.
  5. Serve with a rice pilau made with currants and green onions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SKK
  • ChefJune
  • Lizthechef
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator

6 Reviews

SKK April 13, 2011
I am totally enthralled with this recipe! I doubled it, cooked it and took it to a large family gathering where I simply reheated it. What a hit! The next day I boned the left-over meat, added it to the left-over sauce with rice and we had chicken - tomato soup poured over rice. And I did cheat because I made extra sauce. Chef June, what else can we do with that wonderful sauce?
ChefJune April 14, 2011
don't know if you're a pig-lover, but I find that just about any chicken recipe I have translates well to pork chops. You could also sauce pasta with the "leftover" sauce.
ChefJune April 7, 2011
SKK: sorry I missed your question. Amanda got it right, but I'm not surprised. ;)

Curious: did you use free-range chicken or a supermarket bird for the recipe? The flavor of my free-range chix is so intense I can't imagine brining it. Also big-time afraid of over-salting.
SKK April 13, 2011
Been traveling and just saw this. I used free-range chicken thighs. The purpose of the brining was tenderness. I used about 1/3 cup of kosher salt, brined for about 3 or 4 hours in the fridge and rinsed, rinsed and dried the chicken before I cooked it. I love this recipe!
Lizthechef March 23, 2011
Love this - simple and all the flavors I like with chicken. Sounds like it works for you with white meat as well?
ChefJune March 23, 2011
definitely works with breasts, or with a whole chicken, cut up. It's a festive company dish, but easy enough for Tuesday. Just the kind of recipe I like for company, because I get to enjoy my guests. ;)