magazine cover - cooking for two 2012

First spotted in a 2012 edition of “Cooking for Two” magazine from America’s Test Kitchen, this Slow-Cooker Balsamic Braised Chicken is a family favorite—and was a sensation when shared at a book group meeting in 2023.

Paired with creamy polenta prepared in a rice cooker, the combo makes an easy make-ahead meal for a larger group.  A green salad, fruit dessert and crispy bread complete a memorable meal, easy to serve buffet-style.

The version we ate at our meeting included two standard changes I’ve generally made to this recipe: first, doubling the amounts of balsamic vinegar and wine.  Second, I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, and trimmed them closely before cooking, eliminating the need to rest and defat the sauce.

Otherwise, it’s straight out of this spotted little magazine article: a hearty, easy-to-make family meal for an autumn night.

2 Servings
Preparation time
20 minutes
Cooking time
4 hours
Total time
4 hours, 20 minutes
  1. Lightly spray inside of slow cooker with vegetable oil spray. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add shallot, thyme, tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes and cook until shallot is softened and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in vinegar and wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps, and simmer until thickened, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Stir tomatoes, broth, and bay leaf into slow cooker.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker, turning to coat with sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 3 to 4 hours on low.
  3. Gently stir in chard, cover and cook on high until tender, about 20 minutes.  Transfer chicken to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon.  Discard bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon 1/2 cup sauce over chicken, and serve with remaining sauce.

Cover - Cooking for Two 2012 magazine   recipe - slow-cooker balsamic-braised chicken