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Sweet and Tangy Braised Catalina Chicken

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Looking for a new Sunday dinner chicken recipe? Look no further, Catalina Chicken braised with onions, mushrooms, and red bell peppers in a sweet and tangy sauce is a delicious family-friendly meal.

Succulent and saucy, this fork-tender baked chicken is delicious served over rice, noodles, or even couscous. Every time it appears on our dinner table, it gets a big thumbs up from my family.

A lot Catalina chicken recipes call for a bottle of Catalina dressing and a package of onion soup mix. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but my easy Catalina Chicken is completely made from scratch — without the extra sugar and preservatives.

Although today’s Catalina chicken recipe takes a little longer to prepare, it’s not at all difficult and delivers BIG on flavor!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Braised cooking results in fork-tender, juicy chicken
  • No special or unique ingredients needed
  • It’s a family-friendly recipe enjoyed by adults and kids alike!
catalina chicken in a white baking dish

Made from scratch Catalina chicken

For this Catalina Chicken recipe we are using a braising technique. First, the chicken is browned on all sides on the stove top before adding the liquid ingredients.

The dish is then covered tightly and finishes cooking low and slow in the oven until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

You can prep everything in a deep skillet and transfer it to a baking dish, or you can prepare this dish in a Dutch oven instead.

ingredients for Catalina chicken on a kitchen counter

Ingredients

  • skinless, boneless chicken breasts — may also use chicken thighs
  • extra-virgin olive oil — for browning the chicken and onions
  • unsalted butter — for browning the mushrooms
  • mushrooms — white button mushrooms
  • sweet red bell peppers
  • onion — yellow or white
  • chicken broth
  • ketchup
  • tomato paste
  • honey — for the Catalina sweetness
  • white wine vinegar — for acidity
  • Worcestershire sauce — to add zesty flavor
  • smoked paprika
  • chili powder — may use crushed red pepper flakes if you like more heat

Step 1 | Brown the chicken

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels end season both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. In a heavy deep skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and cook without turning for about 5 minutes, until golden brown on the first side.
  3. Flip and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes until golden. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.

Step 2 | Sauté mushrooms & onions

  1. Melt butter in the same skillet, then add quartered mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, just until the mushrooms are golden.
  2. Transfer the mushrooms to the baking dish along with the chicken, then layer bell pepper strips on top.
  3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the onions and cook until tender.
uncooked chicken breast with red bell peppers in a white baking dish on a table

Step 3 | Make the sauce

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together chicken broth, ketchup, tomato paste, honey, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and chili powder.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the onions in the skillet. Cook and stir for a minute, then slowly add in the chicken broth mixture, cooking and stirring until slightly thickened.
chicken breast with red bell peppers in a white baking dish on a table with sauce ready for the oven

Step 4 | Bake the chicken

  1. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, basting the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is done.
  3. Remove the foil, baste the chicken one more time with the sauce, and bake another few minutes until the bell peppers begin to caramelize.
catalina chicken in a white baking dish on a table

tips

  • Heat your skillet before introducing the food. Make it a regular practice of heating the pan before adding oil or food and the food will stick less.
  • Don’t get flip happy. If you try to flip the chicken in the skillet and it resists, wait another minute. When the chicken is ready to turn it will release easily from the bottom of the pan.
  • Keep your knives sharp. Slicing and dicing veggies for recipes is easier and actually safer if your knives are in tip-top condition.

More Sunday dinner recipes

catalina chicken with couscous and broccoli on a blue plate

FAQ

How do you know when chicken is done?

The most accurate way to measure whether chicken is done is with an instant read thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill bacteria. Without a thermometer, when pierced with a fork, the juices should run clear without any pink.

How do I make Catalina Chicken in a Dutch oven?

Absolutely. To make this dish in a Dutch oven, sear the chicken first as directed in the Dutch oven, then remove to a plate. Finish prepping the sauce, then add the chicken, mushrooms, and red bell pepper back to the Dutch oven. Cover with a lid and bake as directed.

Side dish suggestions

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Yield: 4 servings

Catalina Chicken

catalina chicken with couscous and broccoli on a blue plate

Fork-tender chicken cooked in a sweet and tangy sauce with onions, mushrooms, and sweet red bell peppers.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels end season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a heavy deep skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chicken and brown for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to the baking dish.
  4. Add the butter to the skillet and once melted add the mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes, just until golden. Transfer the mushrooms to the baking dish with the chicken and layer the bell peppers on top.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet with the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until tender.
  6. While the onions are cooking, in a medium bowl whisk together the chicken broth, ketchup, tomato paste, honey, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and chili powder; set aside.
  7. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook another minute. Slowly stir in the chicken broth mixture and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  8. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, basting the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is done. Remove the foil, baste the chicken with the sauce, and bake another 15 minutes to caramelize the bell peppers.

Notes

  • Chicken thighs may be substituted for the chicken breasts.
  • If you try to flip the chicken in the skillet and it resists, wait another minute. When the chicken is ready to turn it will release easily from the bottom of the pan.

To make this dish in a Dutch oven:

    Sear the chicken first as directed, then remove to a plate. Finish prepping the sauce, then add the chicken, mushrooms, and red bell pepper back to the Dutch oven. Cover and bake as directed.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 477Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 1372mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 22gProtein: 41g

Did you make this recipe?

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Home Cook, Wife, Mom, Nana

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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