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2 chickens (about 3 1/2 pounds each), each cut into 8 serving pieces,
rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, cut in half lengthwise and slivered
4 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
4 yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
2 green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry red wine
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, then cut in half crosswise
1 1/2 cups torn fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat
and sauté the chicken pieces, in batches, until browned, about 5 minutes per side.
Add up to 2 more tablespoons of oil as necessary. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large
flameproof casserole over medium-low heat. Add the onions and the bell peppers and
cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and wine and cook until the vegetables
are very soft, about 3 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes, basil, and the sugar to the casserole and cook to soften the tomatoes and
incorporate the sugar, 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, smothering it in the sauce. Cover,
transfer to the oven, and bake until the chicken is tender, 1 1/4 hours,