I rarely buy chicken thighs since my family prefers chicken breasts, but there was a great sale on them so I decided to pick some up to cook in my new Ninja cooker. I recalled a wonderful crockpot recipe from my late and wonderful grandmother, Mamma, that combined chicken, olives and canned tomatoes, but that was from my college days and I had no idea where it was. So I improvised and made what turned out to be a delicious dish to be eaten either by itself as a hearty stew, or as a thick sauce served over some sort of pasta. The olives and tomatoes blend wonderfully together and by making this in the slow cooker, all of the flavors have a chance to intensify.
If you don’t have a Ninja, that’s okay – you can use a skillet for the first few steps. Once you brown the chicken and add the seasonings, wine and tomatoes, just transfer it all to the slow cooker and proceed. The Ninja does make the process easier and faster, though.
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
- 3 slices thick bacon cut in ¼ inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups sweet onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Seasoned salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup dry white wine (don’t use what you wouldn’t drink!)
- 1 can (28 oz.) whole plum tomatoes in juice (I recommend Tuttorosso tomatoes)
- ¾ cup sliced black olives
- ¾ cup sliced green olives with pimentos
Set the Ninja’s Stovetop setting to high and cook bacon until crisp, drain it on paper towels and set aside for later. Add onions and garlic to the bacon grease and sauté them until softened, about 3 minutes.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Move the onions to one side of the Ninja, add the chicken thighs and brown on each side. Sprinkle the thighs with Italian seasoning and add the bay leaves. Pour the wine over the chicken and bring to a boil. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir well.
Change the setting on the Ninja to the Slow Cooker High mode and cook for 6 hours or so. Add the olives and bacon and cook for another hour or so, until the chicken essentially is falling apart.
With a fork, shred the chicken into large pieces. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
I served this over egg noodles, which made for a great new pasta dish in my home. I will definitely make this again and if Mamma was still here, I know she would enjoy this with me!
Eat, drink and be merry!
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