Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard

I just finished eating this.  I’m already looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  I pushed back a couple other blog posts to share this one right away.  It was that good.

I should’ve known.  It comes from America’s Test Kitchen, after all.  They test and test and play and play with recipes until they have found the perfect ingredients list, tools, and techniques to get the job done.  For this recipe, they actually found reducing the balsamic to be key to retaining the flavor in the finished dish.  Since they had the pan already out, as they say in the recipe’s notes, they might as well use it for a few other simple things before letting the slow cooker finish the job.

I had extra fun with this one since I got to use the brand new slow cooker my mom got me for Christmas.  It has extra functions from a traditional slow cooker, so I was able to sauté and slow cook all in the same vessel.  I can’t wait to use it again, especially if it helps me create meals was delicious as this one!

balsamic braised chicken

Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard

from America’s Test Kichen Slow Cooker Revolution

*slight adaptations noted in parenthesis 


1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, minced

5 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp. dried

1 TBSP tomato paste

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and minced (I used 1 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste)

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3 TBSP all-purpose flour

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 c. dry red wine

2 bay leaves

12 (6 oz.) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed (I used 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

6 oz. Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves sliced 1/2 in. thick


1.  Heat oil in 12-in. skillet (or super sweet slow cooker!) over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion, thyme, tomato paste, garlic, anchovy, and red pepper flakes and cook until onion is softened and slightly brown, 8-10 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more.

2.  Slowly whisk in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps.  Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker.

3.  Stir tomatoes, broth, wine, and bay leaves into slow cooker.  

4.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours, on low.

5.  Gently stir in chard, cover, and cook on high until tender, 20-30 minutes.  

6.  Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with foil.  Let braising liquid settle 5 minutes, then skim fat from surface using large spoon.  Discard bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with sauce spooned over each chicken piece.    Serves 6-8.  (I served it with basic polenta as recommended in the cookbook.)

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  1. Becki's Whole Life
    January 4, 2012 / 11:29 am

    Wow, this looks delish and very healthy, too! I almost bought that cookbook last month – now I wish I did.

  2. Josie
    January 4, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    Great minds think alike…I made this last week! I actually adapted it to be a stovetop recipe though. It was so so good – I loved everything about it!

  3. ErinsFoodFiles
    January 4, 2012 / 6:42 pm

    This looks great! I've been loving swiss chard lately. I'll have to give this a try!

  4. Krystal Regueiro
    January 4, 2012 / 6:47 pm

    YUM, this looks great and oh so delicious! I actually have anchovy paste in the pantry and have been needing a recipe to use it up. This sounds like a great addition to my menu next week!

  5. Lisa Barrie
    January 5, 2012 / 10:31 pm

    Yum! I'm gonna try this one for sure.

  6. Jenni
    January 6, 2012 / 1:28 am

    This looks so delicious! And you are right, anything that ATK serves up is delicious!! I've been looking for a reason to try swiss chard, I think this is it!!

  7. FoodEpix
    January 16, 2012 / 12:59 am

    Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at

  8. Cozy Cuisine
    July 9, 2012 / 12:02 am

    I did the stovetop method and Oh my…this is delish! But 1/2cup Balsamic was a little too sweet for me. Couldn't find a reasonable way to balance that out; but if I make it a next time I will 1/4 or 1/3 a cup.

  9. Cozy Cuisine
    July 15, 2012 / 2:57 am

    Update: I was able to balance out the strong acidity of the balsamic vinegar by adding a little cream. I heated via stovetop bring the dish to a simmer. This recipe is now a definite keep for me.

  10. Christine
    July 27, 2012 / 6:14 pm

    Oh my goodness total FAIL. I didn't realize that not all crockpots are stove-top safe and so when I heated my oil and then added the onions mine went *pop* and then cracked…a piece even exploded and went flying! Definitely not crockpot safe. Thank God I didn't get cut and the oil didn't catch fire.I've moved on to Plan B and that's a slow simmer on the stove using my dutch oven. I have high hopes despite my kitchen mishap!!

  11. Kelsey
    July 27, 2012 / 8:05 pm

    Oh no, Christine! I'm so glad you're safe. You are correct, not all slow cookers are safe for the stove top. Please check yours before trying this!

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