A creamy wine-braised chicken to simply celebrate – Lowell Sun

A creamy wine-braised chicken to simply celebrate – Lowell Sun

With the seemingly endless supply of convenient weeknight chicken recipes, it can be easy to forget that chicken was once considered a delicacy.

Flipping through my copy of “The Escoffier Cookbook,” I was struck by the opulence attached to the bird. He starred in dozens of recipes, wrapped in puff pastry, bathed in cream, wrapped in slices of aged ham, stuffed with truffles, sprinkled with Madeira. There was not a skillet dinner in sight.

And all of those recipes gave me exactly the inspiration I needed to create a creamy wine-braised chicken dish that’s luxurious enough for a holiday meal, yet not much more complicated than what I’d make on a typical Tuesday.

The first thing is to find a good chicken. If you can get it at a farmers market, all the better. Otherwise, look for air-chilled, antibiotic-free, and preferably organic chicken at the grocery store. It will be more expensive than a standard fowl, but eating a lot of chicken is even less wasteful than buying many other classic, meaty holiday options.

Then there are the mushrooms in the recipe, which can be as extravagant as you like. Creminis, shiitakes, and white buttons will work perfectly, though if you do it all, specialty mushrooms like king, hen-of-the-woods, and chanterelles add even more flavor.

You will also need some wine for the sauce. Common kitchen wisdom dictates adding a splash from the bottle you plan to drink at dinner. But I usually use the wine left over from dinner the night or two before. When sealed and stored in the fridge, leftover wine is perfectly fine for cooking, and you can use any (dry) variety for this adaptable stew. That means white wine, red wine, rosé, or even a sparkling or orange wine, if that’s what you have.

Like all stews, this one gets better after standing overnight. Prepare it until the moment you would add the crème fraîche, then store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Heat it over low heat on the stovetop or in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Then add the crème fraîche and the garnishes.

Serve it with crusty bread, polenta, rice, or a mound of buttered noodles, with more crème fraîche on the side for maximum richness and maximum joy.

Stewed Chicken in Wine with Mushrooms and Leeks

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 1 hour

  • 1 chicken (3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (or use 3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced ​​mushrooms (preferably specialty mushrooms, such as king, hen-of-the-woods, chanterelles, or black trumpet, or a combination)
  • 2 large leeks (4 cups), halved and sliced ​​into half moons (use the white and light green parts)
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (or use a dry red or rosé)
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche, plus more for serving if desired
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, leaves and young stems

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season everything with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper. Finely grate, pass through a press or chop 2 cloves of garlic. Reserve half of the grated garlic to finish the dish. Rub the rest over the chicken pieces. Reserve the chicken while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter is melted, add the chicken in batches and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If the pan dries out, add a little more oil as needed. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate.

3. Add the remaining tablespoon of each oil and butter to the skillet. Once butter is melted, add mushrooms and cook without moving until nicely browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir and cook for 1 more minute.

4. Thinly slice 2 cloves of garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sliced ​​garlic, leeks, and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender and golden brown, 7 minutes. Add the rosemary and wine to the pot and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute.

5. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, in the skillet and pour any accumulated juices onto the plate. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes.

6. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Pluck the rosemary sprigs from the pot. If sauce looks thin, turn heat to medium-high and simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining grated garlic, crème fraîche, spring onions, and lemon zest. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed. Pour sauce over chicken and top with parsley, more lemon zest, and a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired, and serve.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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