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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!
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.
- 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
- 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
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels end season both sides with salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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
- Melt butter in the same skillet, then add quartered mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, just until the mushrooms are golden.
- Transfer the mushrooms to the baking dish along with the chicken, then layer bell pepper strips on top.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the onions and cook until tender.
Step 3 | Make the sauce
- In a medium bowl whisk together chicken broth, ketchup, tomato paste, honey, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and chili powder.
- 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.
Step 4 | Bake the chicken
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, basting the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is done.
- Remove the foil, baste the chicken one more time with the sauce, and bake another few minutes until the bell peppers begin to caramelize.
- 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.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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
- Tossed green salad with Basil Buttermilk Dressing
- Brown Butter Roasted Asparagus
- Rustic Mashed Potatoes
- Quick 3-Ingredient Dinner Rolls
- 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 large 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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels end season with salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet with the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until tender.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
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 Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.