This lovely braised dish is the perfect remedy for a cold Winter evening, slow cooked and full of goodness. The recipe calls for chicken thighs which are braised in white wine, and chock full of healthy veggies such as fennel, shallots, carrots, garlic and thyme. Add some crunchy fried pancetta to the mix and you’ve got an amazing twist on the classic Coq au Vin recipe, which is normally made with the addition of mushrooms, red wine or brandy. Top off the dish with the savory pan sauce, lemon zest and some fresh parsley and fines herbes and you’ve got yourself a hearty dinner that is sure to please a crowd for a dinner party or just you and your significant other when you’re tucked away from the cold. Serve with a crisp white wine (such as Dry Reisling, which is used in this recipe) and some crusty garlic bread. YUM!
1/4 cup olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 oz. pancetta, diced (1 heaping cup)
8 medium shallots, lobes separated and halved
4 medium carrots, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
1 small bulb fennel, cored, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch dice
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 springs fresh flat leaf parsley
4 springs fresh thyme
1-2 bay leaves
2 cups dry fruity wine, Alsatian or German dry Reisling
2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 cup water mixed with 1 tbsp Knorr’s Chicken Flavor Base
2 tbsp thickening flour
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest, for pan sauce
dash of fennel fronds, for pan sauce
dash of chopped thyme, for pan sauce
1 tbsp dried fines herbes (tarragon, chives, parsley, chervil)
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and place rack in bottom third of oven, tall enough to fit a large Dutch oven.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a 7-8 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Arrange the chicken slices skin side down in the pot in a single layer and sear, flipping once until golden brown all over, about 10-13 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Meanwhile, chop the pancetta into a dice and the vegetables for browning.
Cook the pancetta in the pot until well browned all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off and discard the fat, reserving 1 tablespoon.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots, carrots, and fennel, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until its aroma subsides, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaves together in a small cheesecloth sachet and add the herb bundle to the pot, along with the wine.
Simmer briskly, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the brown bits.
Add the chicken broth to the pot and stir for a few minutes, allowing the herb essence to infuse the broth.
Return the chicken and pancetta to the pot, arranging the chicken in a single layer. Bring to a simmer and cover, transfer to the oven.
Braise the chicken until the meat is fork-tender and just starting to come away from the bone, 30-45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or large dish with a slotted spoon and tent with foil.
Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the sauce in the pot, whisking to dissolve, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce sauce to approximately 2 cups about 15 minutes, until thickened.
Stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Throw in a few fennel fronds and chopped thyme leaves and stir. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley and fines herbes. Serve with a glass of crisp, dry white wine and some crusty garlic bread to mop up the sauce. ENJOY.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking One-Pot Meals, Fall 2011.