The Chef at Home: 7a Foods' Dan Sauer

Braised Chicken Thighs in Red Wine with Kalamata Olives (plus leftovers)

Are the kids tired of the same old dinner? Are you tired of it too? Ever wish you could cook like a real chef?

Well most chefs not only cook for their customers, they also cook for their families. In this column we will feature a recipe that Island chefs prepare at home for their kids, their spouses and their friends.

This week we feature Dan Sauer, chef and co-owner of  in West Tisbury. In true parent fashion, this dish can be stretched to make another easy and wonderful family-pleasing meal the next day.

Braised Chicken Thighs in Red Wine with Kalamata Olives (plus leftovers) from Chef Dan Sauer of 7a Foods

This recipe is great for this time of year.  It is hearty, doesn’t break the bank, and can easily be stretched into two meals.

The slow cooked onions are time consuming but well worth it and can be done in bigger batches.  Keep the unused cooked onion submerged in the olive oil they were cooked in and they last for months in the refrigerator.

The recipe serves 4 people for two meals. The second meal is outlined below the first. 


Olive oil

12 chicken thighs  


Fresh-ground black pepper

2 onion, minced very, very fine (almost a paste)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

1 level tablespoon tomato paste

2 sprigs fresh rosemary,

1 cup red wine

1 cup homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned

1/3 cup halved and pitted black olives (Kalamata)

Mince the onions by hand to very, very fine paste. In a small pot add onions and cover with olive oil. Cook onions over medium heat stirring often with a wooden spoon until a deep golden brown. This process takes time but the results are well worth it.  If the onions stick you may add a little water to keep them from burning. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 5 minutes remembering to stir.  Strain the onions and reserve.  Save the oil!  It is very flavorful in dressings and soups or for the next batch of slow cooked onions.

In a large deep frying pan, heat the 2 table spoons oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken with of the salt and teaspoon pepper. Put the chicken in the pan and brown well on both sides, about 8 minutes in all.  

Add the rosemary and wine. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Boil until the wine is reduced by half.

Add the broth, olives, onions, and the chicken (skin-side up), with any accumulated juices. Cover and gently simmer until the chicken is just done, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove rosemary and serve over rice or a green salad.

For the second meal: pick the remaining chicken meat and discard the skin and bones.  Strain the remaining liquid and reserve the onions and olives.  Reduce the liquid till it thickens (homemade stock is best as store bought will become salty). Swirl in 1 tablespoon butter and then add the picked chicken, olive/onion mix, and toss with cooked pasta. I like penne but most pasta works. Finish with a nice grated Parmagiano Reggiano and serve.


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