This braised chicken recipe by Mario Batali was published in the February 2012 issue of Food and Wine. It is very, very good and easy to make. The sauce is well balanced between sour and sweet and the chicken was moist and tender. Rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes would all be great accompaniments.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may have additives and preservatives include the red wine, red wine vinegar, capers and almonds. Look for a red wine with a sulfite content of less than 10 parts-per-million and for red wine vinegar with no sulfites added. I use Eden Organic brand. Check the labels of the capers and almonds to make sure they don’t contain preservatives. I used Unico brand capers and President’s Choice No Name sliced almonds.

Brown the cut-up chicken

Saute carrots, celery and garlic

Add sauce ingredients and browned chicken

Italian Sweet-and-Sour Chicken


One 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces (each breast split crosswise)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice

2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick

2 celery ribs, cut into ½-inch dice

8 garlic cloves, peeled

¼ cup sugar

1 cup dry light-bodied red wine, such as Chianti

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons capers, drained

¼ cup sliced almonds


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off the oil.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the sugar, wine, vinegar, orange juice, capers and almonds and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Boil the pan sauce over high heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the skillet until warmed through. Transfer to a plate, spoon the sauce on top and serve. Serves 4.

From the February 2012 issue of Food and Wine