braised chicken with escarole

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
30 minutes

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chicken escarole

I took one of my most popular recipes from Braises & Stews and made it with boneless skinless chicken breasts, which I usually find boring in the extreme. And you know what? It was really good (the original, above, is made with skin-on chicken thighs). How couldn’t it be with lemons, escarole (my favorite green; or use chard, frisee or radicchio) and black olives? Speaking of which, I cut back on those to lop off some sodium.

photo credit: Ben Fink


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole shallots
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 head escarole, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1/4 cup black oil-cured olives (with pits)
cooked quinoa


Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt. Warm the olive oil in a heavy deep pan, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skinned sides down, and cook without moving until golden brown and meat releases from pan without yanking (it should lift out easily with tongs), about 5 minutes. Turn pieces over and transfer to a plate.

While the chicken is browning, peel shallots and cut each one in half (if there are 2 lobes inside, cut both in half). Peel garlic and cut off root ends.

After chicken has been removed, add peeled shallots and garlic to pan and stir for about 30 seconds; pour in wine and stir to release browned bits. Add the escarole, cover pot and let escarole wilt for a few minutes. Place sliced lemons in one layer over the escarole and put the chicken with any accumulated juices on top of lemons; do not stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until chicken is opaque through, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Scatter olives over chicken and gently stir contents of pot. Let stand for 5 minutes to warm olives, then divide among shallow bowls or plates and spoon juices over. Serve with quinoa.