Did you hear the band of angels rejoicing in the heavens today? Or maybe it was just me singing “Hallelujah the Littles are in school!” The big kids started a new school a couple weeks ago and we are adjusting well to the transition. Littlest returned to the neighborhood pre-school this morning. We are still in a two-week, gradual entrance phase, but it’s a start to reclaiming a routine around The Schell Cafe.
In the next three hours (Dear Lord, please don’t let me forget to pick up Littlest at Noon. Amen.) I have a list of things to accomplish that will naturally never get done in the abundance of time I have this morning. Dinner, however, is done. And, the kitchen smells like a provencal bistro.
More years ago than I can accurately recall, I lived in Paris. The woman who ran the 7th arrondissement boarding house I lived in also had an amazing farmhouse in Provence. When she invited me to visit her country house, I jumped on the TGV as fast as le train à grande vitesse. One of my favorite pastimes was hanging out in the kitchen curing fresh picked olives and learning all I could about the flavors of Provence.
To celebrate the beginning of the new school year I thought I’d make a special dinner borrowing from a French classic. But, since time is more of the essence than a fresh bouquet garni, I’m using my favorite back-to-school kitchen tool — the Crock Pot. As much as I’d love to spend the morning in a glorious French reverie, listening to Les Mis, and cooking, it’s just not in the cards today. Or any day, for that matter.
We can still celebrate the new school year French style! And you can too. Plop these simple ingredients in your slow cooker and bring the South of France to your kitchen. Cheap thrills, I know.
Provencal Bistro Chicken
8 – 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil (I used a rosemary infused olive oil)
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, chopped
4+ cloves garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons of dried thyme
1 cup red wine (I didn’t measure, but used up Friday night’s leftovers)
28- oz can of diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
salt & pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet (a great time to use your cast iron!), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary, and brown on both sides.
Transfer the chicken to the crock pot. Melt the butter in the cast iron skillet and add the onions, garlic, and thyme. Saute the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and the tomatoes. Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until well combined, just a minute or two. Transfer the mixture to the slow crock pot to coat the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 -8 hours.
I’m serving Provencal Bistro Chicken with Oven Roasted Potatoes and a simple green salad. Très français.
Printing this and adding it to next week’s menu.
Maggie Tate says
Oh me too! On the menu…maybe Thursday! Our traditional back to school dinner is a pot roast, carrot mashed potatoes and gravy. I grew up with this tradition and have carried it on. My mom always made a raspberry pie too but I can’t pull that off as easily as she did!
Daughter Dorothy just pulled up — for the umpteenth time! — the bacon wrapped pork to confirm its baking temp for me, and voila! I found our tomorrow night’s dinner, which I can make in the a.m., thank you! Your sunny self is missed in the SAS halls, btw, but I’m sure you’re shining bright at HP. Xo
Thanks Kristen, I made this for dinner yesterday. You have made a crockpot convert. There is something v satisfying to have dinner already wrapped up in the morning and enjoying the comforting aroma as it simmers throughout the day. This one was a winner.
Can’t wait to make this!!! Love a new crockpot recipe, from the Schell Cafe to boot!
I love the idea of using rosemary infused olive oil. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to add to chicken.
Marie Turner says
LOVE your blog! And your recipes all sound amazing, can’t wait to try them! Question- do you have a crockpot you can recommend? The one we had (a newish Cuisinart one) always overcooked the food and gave everything a mildly burnt taste. Thanks!