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Citrus Braised Chicken

This style of chicken, braised in tomatoes and citrus, is popular in the south of France where tradition demands that only the finest heirloom tomatoes are used.  Even the free range chickens have tomatoes as a part of their diet.  The modifications here make this dish more reasonable to prepare for everyday cooks yet the results are still delicious.  The chicken is melt-in-your-mouth tender while the lemons and oranges produce a sauce that is bright and tangy.

1 whole   chicken cut up
3-15 ounce cans   diced tomatoes, drained and pureed in a blender
3 cloves   garlic, minced
2 tablespoons   AP flour
1 medium    blood orange zested and sliced (or any available orange)
1 large   lemon sliced
1 large   onion, chopped
3 slices   bacon, cut into " pieces
3 tablespoons   herbes de Provence, divided
3 tablespoon   olive oil. divided
salt and pepper   to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Rub the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and coat the chicken pieces liberally with 2 tablespoons  the herbes de Provence.  Heat an oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, large enough to hold all ingredients, over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until just crispy.  Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the remaining olive oil and allow to heat up until ready for browning the chicken, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the seasoned chicken pieces and brown well, about 7 minutes on each side.  Remove the chicken pieces to a platter and set aside.  Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and add the chopped onion.  Allow the onion to cook until well softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, the remaining herbes de Provence and the reserved bacon pieces to the onions and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture.  Add the flour, whisk in until combined, and bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken pieces to the tomato mixture.  You want the liquid to just come a little more than half way up the chicken.  If necessary add a little water.

Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven.  Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Remove chicken to a platter and add the lemon and orange slices and the orange zest  submerging them in the tomatoes.  Return to the oven and continue to cook, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, take out the citrus slices and discard.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

We like to serve the chicken over a bed of egg noodles topped with the tomato sauce



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