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.
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:
- Sope de Fideo
- Traditional Ragu alla Bolognese
- Easy Dahl
- Beef and Black Bean Chili
- Sausage Tortellini Pasta
- Curried Lentil Soup
- Hawaiian Pulled Pork
- Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake
What you’ll need:
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
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
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.