Everything is just peachy!
My life is just peachy! Seriously, it is peachy. There are peaches everywhere, and they are calling my name! I found myself defenseless against those gorgeous market displays of this beautiful, healthy, low-cal stone fruit. Closing my eyes did no good, as the heavenly aroma of fresh peaches is equally powerful. Peaches are beautiful, and their color is trendy in clothing and decorating.
Have you ever wondered how the expression “peachy” or “life’s a peach” originated? I’ve always known it was slang for “wonderful,” but I’ve since learned that the peach has a spiritual meaning. Yeppers. It does. The peach reflects happiness in all areas of our life and the satisfaction that comes from being at peace with our health, work, love, and relationships. The peach also reminds us to stay grounded, so we do not get carried away in our fantasies. Wow! How peachy is that?
Fresh, simple ingredients
But, I digress, time to get back to cooking! I love eating peaches raw, with juice dripping down my face or sliced on a bowl of ice cream (my version of peaches & cream). I also fondly remember my mother’s peach pie (you’ll want to stay tuned for that – it’s the BEST!). However, savory peaches cooked in balsamic vinegar transform ordinary chicken thighs into a culinary experience. Best of all, it’s so simple, easy and quick! When I say quick, I mean the total cooking time is less than 30 minutes. The prep is amazingly easy, and the ingredients are simple; Fresh peaches, fresh basil, and a little chopped onion and garlic.
I am a huge fan of boneless chicken thighs. I think they are much more flavorful and tender than chicken breast (also cheaper). If you disagree, I respect that! You will be please to know chicken breast works just as well in this recipe. Regardless, take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter to warm up to room temp while prepping the peaches and veg. Removing the chill helps the chicken cooks more evenly.
Along with chopping the red onion and basil, and mincing the garlic, the only prep is slicing the peaches. Slightly firm peaches are easier to cut than overripe ones, BUT as all the slices go into the sauce, it doesn’t matter if mangling occurs (No stress, remember!) The easiest way to slice a peach is to first around it lengthwise to divide in half and twist it apart. If the pit can’t be easily removed (sometimes it’s stuck tight), use a spoon to dig it out. Remove any hard bits left behind by the seed and cut the two halves into slices. Easy-peasy!
Cooking the chicken
When the fruit and veggies are ready, add a tablespoon of canola oil to a large skillet. I used my cast-iron skillet because I like its depth. However, any large skillet (including non-stick) will work fine with this recipe as the pan doesn’t go into the oven or is exposed to high heat. For more info on choosing the best pan for any recipe, check out my “Navigating Cookware” post for hints and hacks. Season the chicken on all sides while the oil is heating. When the oil is hot (shimmering, not smoking), add the seasoned chicken and cook for about 8 minutes on each side until the chicken is brown and the juices run clear.
Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate while cooking the sauce.
Add the onion and garlic to the hot skillet and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the sliced peaches, gently stirring as needed until they are soft and juicy.
Making the sauce
Now is the time to transcend the peaches into another dimension with balsamic vinegar. The balsamic adds a rich, complex sweetness with a mellow tartness that explodes on the tongue with intense flavor and a delicate aroma.
Invite the chicken back into the pan to participate in this wondrous transformation. Cook for a few more minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Stir in the fresh basil.
The flavor profile is exquisite. The natural sweetness of the peaches, the bits of garlic and onions in the thick amber sauce enveloping the tender chicken will have everyone asking when you will make it again! It is that good!! Promise.
Serve with rice and a fresh salad or some broccoli. The sauce is great with potatoes, or dipping bread. Enjoy!
One-Pan Peach Balsamic ChickenCourse: Main, DinnerCuisine: Southern-InspiredDifficulty: Easy
This 30 minute, one-pan chicken dish will become a summer favorite! The natural sweetness of the peaches, the bits of garlic and onions in the thick amber balsamic vinegar sauce glazes flavorful, tender chicken for an easy, healthy and delicious dinner.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1½ – 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (6-8 thighs)
Salt – season to taste
Ground black pepper – season to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, chopped
4 large peaches, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup torn fresh basil
- Prep: Wash and slice peaches. Chop red onion and mince garlic. Tear or cut fresh basil.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until hot and shimmering (not smoking). Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Add garlic and red onion to skillet and cook 2 minutes. Add peaches and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the balsamic vinegar and return chicken back into pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, until slightly reduced. Stir in basil.
- Chicken: Skinless, boneless chicken breast can also be used
- Peaches: drained canned peaches can be substituted for fresh
- Basil: Substitute 1½ teaspoons dried basil for 1/3 cup fresh
- Red onion: Yellow onion can also be used