Mediterranean flavors meld deliciously in this chicken dish. Bone-in breasts are meaty and cook perfectly in the moist heat of the braise.
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 lemons, halved
1 orange, quartered
1 cup pitted dates or prunes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 bay leaves
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup unsalted chicken cooking stock
2 tablespoons butter
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°. Sprinkle pepper and 1 1/2 tsp. salt evenly over chicken. Cook 3 chicken breasts, skin side down, in 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat 4 minutes or until skin is golden brown and crisp. Remove chicken from Dutch oven; wipe Dutch oven clean with paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil and 3 chicken breasts; reserve 2 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven.
Sprinkle sugar over cut sides of lemon halves and orange quarters. Cook fruit, cut sides down, in hot drippings in Dutch oven over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until fruit browns and sugar melts and begins to bubble. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 3 more minutes. Add dates and next 3 ingredients; sauté 3 minutes.
Increase heat to high, and stir in wine. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until almost all liquid has evaporated. Stir in bay leaves and next 2 ingredients. Nestle chicken in date mixture. Place a piece of parchment paper directly on chicken, and cover Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Let chicken stand, covered, in Dutch oven at room temperature 30 minutes. Discard parchment paper. Transfer chicken to a platter; cover to keep warm.
Skim any fat from surface of cooking liquid. Pour cooking liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a saucepan. Reserve lemons and oranges; discard remaining solids. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add butter and whisk until sauce is smooth. Garnish chicken with reserved lemons and oranges, and serve with sauce.
Note: We tested with Swanson Unsalted Chicken Cooking Stock.