Chicken Ragu

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If you’re in need of a comforting, cozy, delicious dinner… well look no further. This Chicken Ragu is the perfect meal for those rainy / cold days and I’m serving it up over a bed of polenta because it’s the right move. It’s like a big giant hug in a bowl and I’m very into it.

Chicken Ragu from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

You all know I love a chicken thigh recipe. I much prefer them to chicken breasts as they are more moist, more forgiving and honestly, more flavorful. The base of this Chicken Ragu is obviously chicken thighs that are golden and crispy along with a mirepoix (celery, carrots and onion) that then get cooked together until the chicken falls apart, shreds up beautifully and can be served over any number of things.

I opted for Polenta as I wanted my daughter to try Polenta for the first time but you could put it over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, risotto or even throw some of the ragu into a salad or bowl with roasted vegetables. Whichever way you spin it, it’ll be incredible.

And for those of you who love to double a recipe and keep some stocked in the freezer, this Chicken Ragu would lend itself to meal prep BEAUTIFULLY!

One Note – for anyone who wants to make this in a slow cooker, be my guest. You’ll need to crisp the chicken and sauté the mirepoix as the recipe states, but otherwise, you could pop everything in the slow cooker, let the wine cook down and add the rest of the ingredients and you’re in business!

Looking for more comforting recipes like this Chicken Ragu – here are a few of our favorites:

Chicken Ragu from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Chicken Ragu

4.8 from 12 votes
Are you tired of the same old dinner routine? Stop settling for boring meals and switch things up with Chicken Ragu! This flavorful Italian favorite is sure to bring life back into your kitchen. Not only is it delicious and a great way to regroup as a family, but making Chicken Ragu can also be an entertaining kitchen experience.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Main Course, Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken Ragu

  • 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (approx. 2.5-3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large carrots peeled and cut into a small dice
  • 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 8 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the Polenta

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • Kosher salt
  • cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions
 

For the Ragu

  • Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven with a lid, over medium-high heat. Generously season the chicken thighs with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add the seasoned chicken thighs in an even layer to the dutch oven, do 2 rounds if needed to avoid overcrowding the pot. Cook 5-6 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown on one side, then flip and cook 3-4 minutes until the other side is golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add in the carrots, onion, and celery and season with kosher salt freshly cracked black pepper. Stir to combine & cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the pot with the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, until well incorporated. Increase the heat to medium-high, pour the white wine and thyme into the pot. Stir constantly, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that may have formed at the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the wine is almost completely absorbed. Add the bay leaves and canned crushed tomatoes along with their juices, stock, & browned chicken thighs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a low. Partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken is fall-apart tender.
  • Carefully transfer the braised chicken thighs to a plate or cutting board. Use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Return the shredded chicken to the pot with the ragu sauce. Stir to combine.

For the Polenta

  • Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Slowly add the polenta, stir with a wooden spoon, and add 1 tsp salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is tender and full cooked, about 20 minutes. Add the milk, 2 tbsp of the butter, and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the polenta and stir together over medium-low heat until just warmed through and soft enough to drop easily from a spoon, a few minutes more. Cover to keep warm. Taste and add extra butter and stir if you want a richer flavor.

Notes

for anyone who wants to make this in a slow cooker, be my guest. You’ll need to crisp the chicken and sauté the mirepoix as the recipe states, but otherwise, you could pop everything in the slow cooker, let the wine cook down and add the rest of the ingredients and you’re in business!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 674kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 1115mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 8709IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 261mg | Iron: 3mg

19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Sooo good. Perfect on a rainy night ! I subbed mild red wine and it tasted great! Had it over couscous. Also good. You made my night Gaby!

  2. 5 stars
    So yummy and flavorful! Didn’t have polenta but placed Ragu over egg noodles and it was perfect for today’s rainy day. Another winner ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    This was a winner for our dinner last night! What a wonderful way to make chicken thighs. I used bone in thighs & cooked it in my Dutch oven pot for about 1 1/2 hours. It fell right off the bones. Thanks Gaby!

  4. 5 stars
    I did not expect this to be such a big bowl of comfort on this dreary day in Wisconsin. I made exactly as you wrote out and it turned out delicious. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it will be forever in my list of favorites. We loved so much. My husband rarely says anything about my cooking and he most always enjoys but takes it for granted. He could not stop talking about it. We made zero substitutions except for 2% milk in the polenta and this a perfect recipe!! Thank you!!

  6. 4 stars
    My husband and dinner guests LOVED this. However, I did find I had to doctor it up for better flavor.
    I added some Better Than Boullion when cooking the mirepoix down, some Calabrian chili paste, some chili flakes, plus extra tomato paste for umami. I also added some Nutritional Yeast once the chicken went back in. It tasted far better after these additions.

  7. 4 stars
    Good flavor but found it probably needed much longer on the stove! I let it cook for 45 and was able to easily shred but the chicken ended up pretty stringy and dry. Still tastes great but was a bummer about the chicken! I always seem to have this issue with cooking chicken in tomato sauces.

  8. 5 stars
    Made this ahead of time for dinner tonight, and it is so good that I am also having it for lunch 🙂

    Worth the splatters on my stove from browning the chicken!

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