This Chicken Provencal recipe is a quicker and leaner take on the French classic made with chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes and olives in a light pan sauce.
However, not all French recipes are creamy and heavy. The recipe for Chicken Provencal is a bright example of how to keep things light and packed with flavour!
This dish is quick, delicious and will transport you to the south of France with the first bite. It’s fun to travel to distant lands through food, don’t you think?!
The dish originates in the southern French region of Provence, which is a beautiful and sun-soaked part of France that borders the Mediterranean.
It’s also one of the regions that has contributed the most to making France such a culinary legend. So what makes food from Provencal so special?
Lots of things come together to make Provencal what it is, including a Mediterranean climate suited for agriculture, access to stunningly fresh and flavourful ingredients, and a tradition for how to turn all that init something wonderful.
But my favourite part of Provencal cooking is the stunning use of plentiful herbs to take humble dishes into the taste stratosphere.
Even if you have never travelled there yourself, you are probably familiar with some of the classic dishes from the region. Some famous examples are ratatouille, bouillabaisse, tapenade and aioli, although other regions also claim the latter.
My personal favourite, though, has to be Nicoise salad, which turns simple tuna salad into a culinary experience.
For the true Provencal experience, pair these dishes with a glass of rosé wine form the region.
Provencal rosé is the true spiritual home of the variety, and nothing like the sweet wine we sometimes get. Crisp, sophisticated and unbelievably refreshing, it’s easy to love!
What is Chicken Provencal?
Chicken Provencal is another regional classic, which I simplified and adapted. Usually made with a whole chicken or rabbit it uses dried herbs de Provence, native to the area.
When I first discovered this dish I made it using chicken pieces, fell in love with it and immediately put it on a regular rotation.
This dish uses regional flavours like tomatoes and olives to create a unique but comforting chicken dish. The wine and herbs bring it together to create the fragrant sauce.
The sauce this recipe creates is like no other; fragrant and delicate, made slightly sweet with cherry tomatoes. You will definitely need a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. Delicious!
I normally serve chicken provencal on a bed of mashed potatoes, but it’s very versatile so you can work with whatever side you prefer. Fluffy rice or any other form of potatoes will be perfect.
I like to add a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley. Not only does it add a little fresh, herby kick but it also brings a little colour to the dish.
Recipe tips and notes
- Every time I made Chicken Provencal I used fresh herbs rather than the traditional dried mix. I find them to be much more flavourful than the dried ones. However, feel free to substitute.
- I am a dark meat fan, and naturally I prefer to use a whole chicken. Not only is it more flavourful it is also more economical. However, I decided to re-make this recipe with chicken breasts instead of the whole cut up chicken for a quicker and leaner version.
- I’ve used cherry tomatoes for their sweetness but you can use regular tomatoes cut into pieces. Although I have to warm you the sweeter your tomatoes are the tastier the sauce will be.
- Olives are such an integral part of the Southern cuisine in France along with the garlic and fragrant herbs, don’t skip them. You can use any variety of olives you like.
- Finally it’s impossible to imagine a French dish without wine but if you prefer not to add any, substitute with the same amount of apple juice and 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
Storage and leftovers
Reheat by setting the stovetop on low, adding a splash of water or stock to your pan to keep the sauce loose. Cover with a lid or foil to prevent drying and heat for 15 minutes or until the meat is hot in the middle.
You can freeze any leftovers for up to three months in an airtight container.
More classic French chicken recipes
- Coq au Vin Blanc
- Chicken in Wine and Mustard Sauce
- French Chicken Casserole a la Normande
- Chicken Supreme
- 2 shallots chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves only
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 cup /250 ml white wine
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4-5 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup / 250 ml chicken stock
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 large green olives pitted
- Parsley for garnish
- In a large bowl combine chopped shallots, chopped herbs, fennel seeds, wine and half the olive oil, add chicken breasts and marinade for 2-3 hours in a refrigerator.
- Take the chicken breasts out of the marinade and brush off the herbs and shallots as much as possible, season with salt and set aside. Reserve the marinade.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
- In a large and deep pan brown chicken breasts in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until golden but not cooked through, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.
- Add flour to the pan and stir it in with with the oil that was left in the pan from browning chicken, add ½ of the marinade and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release the brown bits, cook it on high until the sauce thickens, which should take about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the rest of the marinade and stir, then add chicken stock, chicken breasts, halved cherry tomatoes and olives, bring to a boil and move it to the oven.
- Finish it off in the oven uncovered for 25 minutes. The sauce should reduce by a third and will coat a spoon when tested for thickness.