Chicken Stew with Onions, Tomatoes, and Dijon

Easy and hearty chicken stew recipe with loads of red onions and tomatoes! Seasoned with Dijon mustard.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 whole head garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (2 breasts, wings, thighs, legs)
  • 6 medium red onions (about 2 pounds)
  • One 28 to 32 ounce can good quality whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A pinch of chile powder
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp old-fashioned whole seed Dijon mustard (or 1/4 cup regular Dijon mustard)


1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Roast garlic: Remove the papery outer layers of the garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves. Cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch off the tops of cloves, exposing the individual garlic cloves.

Place the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle some olive oil over the garlic, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Wrap the head of garlic with the aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the flesh of the cloves are light brown and feel quite soft when pressed. Set aside to cool. (See how to roast garlic.)

3 Brown the chicken pieces: While the garlic is roasting, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (with lid) or Dutch oven, on medium high heat. Rinse the chicken pieces in cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Brown the chicken pieces, starting them skin-side down, cooking them a few minutes on each side, working in batches so that you don't crowd the pan.


4 Cook onions until soft: While the chicken is browning, peel and quarter the onions. Remove chicken from pan when nicely golden with tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Discard any fat and oil beyond about 1 Tbsp left in the pan.

Put the onions in the pot and cook them until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.


5 Add tomatoes, herbs, chili powder, chicken, wine, then simmer: Add the tomatoes to the pot, the thyme, bay leaves, and ground chile powder. Put the chicken pieces on top of the tomatoes. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer.

chicken-stew-onions-tomatoes-dijon-method-3 chicken-stew-onions-tomatoes-dijon-method-4

Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 40 minutes, stirring from time to time so that the vegetables don't stick.

6 Crush roasted garlic: After the garlic has cooled enough to handle, squeeze out the roasted garlic from the cloves into a small bowl and crush with a fork.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to serve with the chicken stew.


7 Add mustard, thicken sauce: When the chicken has cooked, add the mustard to the pot and stir to blend. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat. Remove bay leaves. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve stew over rice or pasta, with the garlic paste on the side.

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  • Olga

    I followed this recipe exactly and it was very good. One of the best chicken recipes I’ve made, thanks.

  • Mel

    Just tried this tonight. Didn’t have Dijon mustard, so I substituted it with honey mustard. Turned out delish.

    Thanks Elise for the wonderful recipe! The ladies in my church will enjoy this for potluck tomorrow. :)

  • Gray


    I don’t consume alcohol, so I was wondering if there’s anything that can substitute white wine used in the recipe? I really want to try this dish :)

    • Elise

      Hi Gray, just skip it or sprinkle a little cider vinegar or lemon juice into the stew.

  • Southwestsam

    Yum. Did not have seed mustard just regular. I like to cook my chicken thighs by searing them in a hot pan for 2 minutes on one side then turning them over and letting them cook gently with the lid closed for 10 minutes, then turn off the stove and let them sit in the hot juices for 10 minutes, so I made the sauce 1st and poured it over 2 minutes before I had to turn the heat off and left it for 10 minutes. Had it with spaghetti. Tastes fabulous!! Thank you!

  • Jess

    The flavour is amazing! I did not have crushed tomatoes and substituted with tomato puree & chopped fresh tomatoes instead. This is a keeper, thanks Elise!

  • Lulu

    I have never been able to make a really delicious stewed chicken before until now. Decided to try this last night, even though it’s summertime. It was kind of cool here last night.
    Very easy recipe and I had all the ingredients at home. I stirred the roasted garlic paste into the stew and the only other thing I did differently was add a little more chili powder and a couple of shakes of crushed red pepper to give it a litte tiny kick. Love it! Can’t wait to make it on a cold winter night. I think I want to add some peas to it for some green, but otherwise, this stew is perfect.


  • Steph

    Made this tonight for dinner now that the weather is getting cooler and it was WONDERFUL. Lovely twist on the traditional chicken cacciatore; I loved the French flare! I’m so happy we’re getting back into stew season! :D

  • abby

    This was great. I did not use as many onions but i thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • sepiaesthetica

    Just made this and it is wonderful! I used white grape juice and apple cider vinegar instead of wine and it was great. (It is Sunday so I could not buy wine and I didn’t have any in the house.) So yummy.

  • Courtney

    I just finished eating this yummy dish. I used 3.5 pounds of chicken breasts-bone in with skin on. I trimmed most of the fat off the breasts and kept about half the skin on. Before adding the mustard, I took the chicken out and pulled all the meat off the bones in large chuncks and put it back into the pot without the bones and skin. Served over rice, it was delicious. The perfect meal for a snow storm! Now, I have leftovers while i’m snowed in the next few days! Next time, I will use less onion (because my husband hates onion-its just me this time and i love them), try adding celery, carrots and possibly potatoes. I will also add more chilli powder and mix the garlic into the stew. Thank you so much for the recipe. I can’t wait to have this tomorrow for dinner after a long day of shoveling!

  • Rose

    Fantastic recipe. When the onions are quartered and there is not not enough fat they tend to burn easily so I added some water and they stewed nicely.

  • Bigmike

    Despite a few mistakes and variations, this turned out quite delightful. I added more shiitake mushrooms (I have a lot from a certain box bulk store), one large white and red onion, arbol chile powder, a bit extra wine and mustard, and a handful of basmati rice to finish it up. My unintended mistake was adding the mustard early with the wine. I also cooked about 10 minutes longer.

    Still, this turned out just awesome. While the chicken had moist mellow tasting result, the sauce/stew part was a bold tangy flavor. I ate with a beer bread and a glass of wine. It left me with a pleasant happy feeling. I must make this on a regular basis.

  • stacey

    This recipe was awesome! I actually did everything through step 4 and then on step 5, instead of simmering on the stove – I popped mine in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or so then added the mustard. It turned out great! The chicken was so moist and flavorful. A new favorite!

  • Amy C

    Made it again, and it came out so lovely (again!). Last time my hubby was a bit creeped out by the wrinkly chicken skin, so I simply rendered some chicken fat and sauteed the de-skinned chicken in it. I left a bit of the fat in the pot when I threw in the rest of the ingredients, and it still had as much flavor in it as it would have if I left the skins on.

  • HobbyWizard

    This recipe doesn’t look flashy, but I made it last month and it is one of the best new dishes I’ve tried in months. Hands down winner among the recipes I’ve tried on Simply. I didn’t even get around to eating the roasted garlic, but the dish doesn’t require it. I think my favorite part was the sweetness of the red onion (and it’s a huge bonus I didn’t have to chop it – chopping onions is my least favorite prep). Overall, the heartiness and simple, good flavors were what it was all about. This is the Mother Theresa of chicken dishes!

    Now that I found such a winner of recipe, I’ll be searching this site for others just as good for the next few years – thanks, Elise!

  • DallasMediator

    Just finished dinner. Outstanding! Thanks for listing the 2 lb on the onions rather than just the count.

  • Crystal W.

    I made this recipe as written, minus the roasted garlic, and it was a huge hit! I served it over steamed rice-it was a hearty meal and the chicken fell off the bone. Thank you for this delicious recipe, it will definitely become a staple in our house. And I LOVE your blog/site-Keep up the good work!!

  • Wendy

    Thank you for the recipe. I made this for dinner last night and loved the way it turned out. (I changed a few things to accommodate my pantry- chicken legs and diced tomatoes). I was concerned about my fresh thyme because it was in full flower. But, after searching the internet, discovered that it is quite acceptable (even desirable) to use thyme when it is flowering. (I also served it with no-knead bread..incredible bread if you have not tried it)

  • Nat

    That was one awesome dinner! A winner. Thank you.

  • Catherine Y.

    I cooked this last night and it was a crowd winner for sure!

  • Kaycie

    I made this for dinner last night adjusting for what I had on hand. I used bone-in chicken thighs but pulled most of the skin off before browning, leaving only what clung to the thighs for flavor. I used only two large onions and substituted one can of crushed tomatoes and one can of stewed tomatoes for the whole tomatoes. When adding the mustard I pulled out the chicken thighs and pulled the meat off the bone before returning to the pot. When it came time to serve, I mixed in about 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice rather than serving over. Just delicious. My husband and I loved it.

  • Laura [What I Like]

    Just curious, do you find that the chicken skin becomes sort of unappetizing after stewing? I always spend a lot of time browning the skin, but it gets a bit squishy and seems to loose the appeal for me. Have you tried skinning the chicken and just skipping the browning?

    I find that the skin is important for flavor, so even if we don’t eat it (my father skips the skin), we almost always cook with it on. ~Elise

  • Val

    I made this when you first posted it. Heavenly. I had doubts about all those onions, esp in big chunks like that, but I kept the faith and kept peeling them and tossing them in the pot. Absolutely delicious, a keeper, everyone loves it.

  • Katie

    Could you substitute chicken broth for the white wine? I’m not a big wine user in recipes (partly b/c I don’t know which one to choose, yes white, but which white, lol). This looks great!

    You could, but it would be better with some white wine. Choose a dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc. If you can get a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, you can’t go wrong. Try Monkey Bay for an affordable, good bottle. ~Elise

  • Renee

    This sounds wonderful! One question: do you leave the tomatoes whole or break them up a bit? I was going to buy a whole chicken today, so this recipe showed up just in time!

    I would break them up as I put them in. ~Elise

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I’m always amazed at how well Dijon mustard works with tomatoes. I add a couple of tablespoons whenever I made a marinara sauce; it gives a real flavor boost, but doesn’t scream “mustard.”

  • Phillip

    Can you cook this in a crock pot.

    Haven’t tried to make this in a crockpot myself. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. I recommend browning the chicken first, before slow cooking, and using thighs and legs. ~Elise

  • Joyce

    I like this recipe because it is good, easy, and feeds a lot of people. The quality of the tomatoes is key. I am looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow!

  • Eric

    This recipe got me past the usual chicken crisis. My son doesn’t like wine in food, so I used apple juice as a substitute. The sweetness wasn’t from the juice so much as the onion without the wine. I didn’t have chili powder so I used Tapitio. My sons asked me to keep it on the list.

  • nellie

    I made this dish last weekend (the first rainfall in cali this season!). It was also the night before a half marathon I was running–it was the perfect meal. It was warm and comforting, and a great balance of proteins & carbs. Yum!

  • Ellen

    I made this last night and thought it was rather on the sweet side. The only modification I made was to use a spicy brown mustard – it was on hand – rather than Dijon. Would that account for the sweetness? Or perhaps the wine? Or is it simply supposed to be on the sweet side and I’m just being silly?

    Onions can be sweet, as can wine if you are not using a dry wine. ~Elise

  • Melissa

    Yummy! I doubled the recipe, cooked it in two pots and just used chicken thighs and was so pleased how it turned out for our guests. Our red onions are small here and I was a little hesitant as I peeled and quartered at least 40 of these little guys, but loved the results. Amazing how a few great ingredients can surprise you. Too bad I didn’t get to relax while it simmered away, I was too busy finishing the rest of the meal :)

  • Sam

    I love this recipe and its not even finished cooking yet!

  • Caroline

    This recipe is a keeper! I made it tonight, without the roasted garlic and used a mix of red and sweet onions. It was delicious. Next time I think I will stick with just thigh and drumsticks though (although I usually prefer white meat). But the sauce is AMAZING!

    Elise, thanks for sharing this recipe. I tried one of Clotilde Dusoulier’s recipes before, and it didn’t turn out that well. But I trust you to pick a winner!

  • Brooke

    We make this last night with not so many onions and about a 1/2 tsp of chili powder and it was a real winner. For being so simple, it had a really full taste. It’s going into our rotation!

  • Kathy Schenck

    Elise, I made this dish last night after work with boneless thighs and it was delicious! My husband and father-in-law liked it very much and said it made up for the fiasco I cooked on Sunday and had to throw out –unedible!!! Thank goodness that doesn’t happen very often!!! Love your blog and I try to be wheat-free (not gluten-free.) Kathy

  • marina

    Absolutely delicious! I have made this 3 times already and every time, my husband tells me that it is the best chicken recipe he has ever tasted! We love it.

  • Emily

    The recipe looks great, but 6 onions? I have seen the recipe listed on another site with only 2 red onions listed. Which number is correct?

    Note from Elise: This recipe is directly from Clotilde’s book. I suspect that the onions she buys in Paris may be smaller than the ones I typically get at Whole Foods, which is why I included the guideline of 2 pounds. Go with the 2 pounds. Yes, there are a lot of onions in this recipe.

  • Katie

    I made this a few days ago, and it turned out wonderfully. I used only one red onion. For the white wine, I substituted white wine vinegar and white grape juice, mixed. I didn’t have regular dijon, so I sued a horseradish mustard. I threw in a pinch or two of Herbes de Provence. It was really good, even my husband liked it!

  • PamC.

    ok, I’ll show my ignorance. What do you do with the roasted garlic? What do you put it on? I don’t get it. Please enlighten me.

    Note from Elise: Serve it on the side, like a condiment. Like that little bit of wasabi that is served with sushi. Dip into it with each bite if you want. Or mix it in with the sauce.

  • Nathan

    I tried this recipe last night. The chicken breast was a little dry for my taste, but my wife enjoyed it. I stuck to the dark meat, which was tasty.

  • Becky

    This recipe caught my eye when you first posted it a couple of days ago. I made it for dinner tonight, and it was a do-over :-) The only change I made was to add the roasted garlic paste to the sauce instead of serving it on the side. For the three of us, I would have had to roast three heads or we’d have been fighting over it LOL.

  • nellie

    This turned out absolutely beautifully. I browned boneless skinless chicken thighs and just didn’t add them until the tomato/onion mixture had cooked about 15 minutes so as not to overcook them. I also added a little chicken broth and flour to thicken it up a bit, as well as 3 tablespoons of butter near the end to create a more velvety texture.

    I know, probably unnecessary, but it turned out delicious.

  • Vadim

    AMAZING… I just made this… its freakin wonderful. Thank you.

  • Talia

    This was simple and delicious. I didn’t have Thyme on hand, but the sage and rosemary i did were perfect substitutes. Very flavorful.

    Thanks for presenting it.

  • Stacia

    This was terrific! I ran out and got what I needed to make it last night, and it was perfect. I served it with white rice and green beans and some crusty bread. My only problem was that I tried reducing it for well over 25 minutes, but it never got down to the consistency I wanted. To keep from overcooking the chicken I just stopped, but it all worked out because there was plenty of sauce to soak up with that bread. Yum!

  • J_in_Pas

    So, I tried the recipe last night. simple ingredients, but simply delicious!

    I am passing this recipe around to all my friends.

    I served over white rice. I did not get as much liquid as i would have liked after boiling down to the right consistency. I kept adding more wine since it didn’t seem to cook right. I’ll have to try again and use a smaller chicken (the smallest i could grab on the way home was a 4.5 lb-er).

    Using the whole seed dijon mustard… great texture and taste. Like a little yellow parties in your mouth. and the garlic paste was to die for (especially in combination with the stew), but maybe not for use on a first or third date, unless you both really, REALLY love that savory garlic taste.

  • Tammy

    Made this last night with organic chicken things (bone-in) and fresh lemon thyme. It was FANTASTIC – and it’s getting added to my repertoire because it was crazy easy. Picky husband loved it – plus it gave me an excuse to buy a bottle of wine.

    Thanks, Elise!

  • sasi

    I have tried this recipe last night. It turned out excatly as it looks in the picture and tasted great. My boys loved it as well as the rest. The only thing was that I didn’t have bay leaves but it was MMMMgood without it. Thank you for the recipe. I will be cooking more.

  • Amy

    Yum! This came out absolutely delicious. I simply served it in a bowl with the sauce, onions, tomatoes and chicken all heaped together, with biscuits on the side (which I largely dunked into the sauce).
    I added significantly more chili powder (almost a tablespoon), which I was a little nervous about. However, I don’t think it altered the lovely, delicate mix of white wine and mustard. It just spiced it up a little bit (my husband is not a fan of stews, so I have to kick up the spices for him).
    Thanks for the recipe! It was perfect for the rainy, gloomy day.