Monday, October 25, 2010

It's time for a braise.

When the weather cools down, I start craving braises. Coq au vin, boeuf bourgignon - you name a braise, I'll eat it like nobody's business. Chicken is my favorite meat for braising, since it benefits so immensely from slow cooking, and since it takes so well to so many different flavor combinations.

And so, when I spotted a Martha Stewart recipe for braised chicken on Lonny's blog the other day, and was instantly smitten. Shallots, garlic, tomatoes, chicken, wine and mustard? Sign. Me. Up. I didn't have any tarragon on hand, but I thought I could make do very well with the parsley I did have. When the kosher butcher down the block turned out to be running a special on chicken, I knew this was the right thing to make for Sunday night supper. (And, of course, for my lunches this week. Nothing keeps as well for as long as a braise.)

Like so many braises, this one starts out with a browning stage. Since the chicken is skinless, coating it in a light flurry of flour gives it a bit of heft. That flour also helps thicken the sauce later on. After the browning come the shallots and garlic, and then the wine, mustard and stock. (Water works, too, if you don't have stock in the house.) A long simmer and a few tomatoes later, you have a dish fit for a king.

I ate mine with a healthy chunk of baguette and a cold glass of white wine. Heaven.

Mustardy Braised Chicken with Shallots
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Fast

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
5-6 small shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup finely-chopped parsley

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, turning to coat and shaking off excess.

In a Dutch oven or heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. If necessary, cook the chicken in batches - whatever you do, don't crowd the pan.

Add shallots and garlic to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Stir in the mustard and stock, and bring the sauce to a boil.

Return chicken, bone side down, to pot, nestling them into the sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through (juices should run clear when pierced), 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving the rest of the stew behind.

Add tomatoes and 3/4 of the parsley to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture over high heat until tomatoes soften and sauce thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and return chicken to pot; cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. Garnish with remaining parsley before serving.

Serves 2-4, depending on appetites.


T. Bella said...

MEG! Now I want to make not only this, but Julia's boeuf bourgignon... GAH! I can haz a week off for cooking?

Meg Blocker said...

Ha! You will love this, trust me. Just make sure to season it well at the end; I definitely needed salt on mine!

Joanna said...

I made this the other night after spotting the recipe from the Lonny blog. It was definitely a hit with the boyfriend! Now I'm looking for similar recipes. Not only is it so cozy at this time of year, but it's also super easy to make. I love one pot cooking!

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