A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Balsamic Chicken with Cipollini Onions

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Balsamic Chicken with Cipollini Onions

This summer has been so busy that I haven't had many opportunities to get to the farmer's market, which is sad-- it's one of my favorite summer Saturday activities. So when this past Labor Day long weekend rolled around and Alex and I had no real plans, I made a point of getting us up early on Saturday to head down to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. It's Chicago's largest farmer's market and I'm always impressed by the variety of produce, flowers, and artisanal products available there-- especially at the height of summer!

On Saturday one vendor had an amazing selection of cipollini onions, so I made sure to stock up. Cipollini onions are one of my favorite onions to use in cooking and I fell in love with them when I was living in Italy. They're sweet and mild in flavor and their flat round shape and petite size makes them perfect for cooking and roasting whole, instead of slicing or dicing like you'd have to do when cooking a normal sized onion.

Although this is a chicken recipe, I do feel like the cipollini are the stars of this dish. A sweet and tangy balsamic sauce is the perfect complement to these soft and sweet onions. Together is all gives a really bold flavor to the chicken, which is kind of a blank canvas. I added red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, which you can definitely omit. I think that a little heat is a nice addition to the sweeter sauce though. Serve it with the starch of your choice, though if you're a fan, I would highly recommend polenta. It soaks up the sauce really nicely and makes this light dish feel hearty and filling.


  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 10 cipollini onions, peeled with stem and root ends removed
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 fat free low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Saute chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Reduced heat to medium and add the onions to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions begin to soften and become translucent.

Whisk the Balsamic vinegar, stock, honey, and pepper flakes into the pan, raise heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and use a spatula to scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 8-10 minutes at medium heat until sauce begins to reduce and thicken.

Return chicken to the pan and nestle into the sauce and onions. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until chicken is coated in the sauce and warmed through.

Serve warm over the starch of your choice. I would recommend egg noodles or polenta.

Optional: Garnish with freshly grated parmesan or a little chopped parsley.

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