Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Zesty Braised Chicken

I get so many recipe magazines and I never have the time to try them all.  I wish I could eventually make that my full time job (sigh).  Anyhow, I decided to try this simple one from Food and Wine and this is one of the few times that I actually didn't deviate from the original recipe...okay well... I didn't deviate that much. It's so simple yet so elegant that this will surely please your dinner crowd.  I've made this several times and it was a hit every time.  This is a restaurant quality meal that you can easily make right in your own home!

Let's get started...

Ingredients showing up for roll call.  Flour, salt, pepper and onion powder forgot to show up.

Wash your chicken and trim off any excess fat.  Separate a portion of the skin so that you can remove the "slimy" film and get off any of the excess fat.
I usually wash it under cold running water and rub it with salt and lemon to aid in removing the "slimy" film, especially from under the skin.

Season your chicken with salt, pepper and onion powder. Make sure to season and get under the skin.  Here I flipped the skin up to season underneath and directly on to the chicken as well.

Place in a plastic bag and squeeze 1/2 lemon into the bag and seal it.  You can always shake the contents to distribute the lemon as evenly as you can.  My manicure lasted throughout this whole process -in case you were wondering.

In a pan heat some olive oil on MED or MED HIGH heat and remove your chicken from the bag and dredge in flour.  Shake off the excess flour. (Sorry, I forgot to show this step)  Use rice flour if you are gluten free. When your oil is hot, place your chicken in the pan and let it sear for about 7-10 min or until you get a golden color.  Turn over and repeat. The chicken will not be cooked all the way but don't worry, it will finish cooking in the oven.

(If you notice, the raw chicken in the picture were thighs but here we have legs. I'm not trying to deceive you but I did 8 legs and 8 thighs for our guests and I forgot to feature the thighs in this step. I apologize for any confusion.)

Remove your browned chicken on to a plate and set aside and add the wine and garlic to the same pan.  The fourth garlic clove swam to the other side in case you were wondering. 

Let simmer to boil the wine away (this process is called "reducing").  Reduce the wine by half. 
You can see from the picture that almost half of the wine is gone (reduced). 

Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, lemon peels (that yellow speck in the center that you see), capers and butter (if you are using) let simmer for a few minutes.  The bay leaf swam to the other side in case you were wondering. 
Put the chicken back into the pan over this gorgeous sauce you created and put in a preheated 350 F oven for about 45 min - 1 hour.  If you can, try and baste the chicken with this sauce 3-4 times during the cooking process.

The final product out of the oven (juices not shown)! 
Serve with a rice pilaf or mashed potatoes and some veggies for a complete meal. 

Zesty Braised Chicken

Feeds 4-5

8 bone-in chicken thighs or 8 bone-in drumsticks
4 peeled garlic cloves
4-6 Thyme sprigs
4 strips of lemon peel (approx 1 inch or so)
1 tbsp capers
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 C Sauvignon Blanc or any white wine
1 1/2 C Chicken stock (I used 1 tsp bullion base + 1 1/2 C water)
2 tbsp butter
Olive Oil
Salt + Black Pepper + Onion Powder
Flour for dredging (about 1/2 C)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and onion powder and put in a seal-able plastic bag and pour the juice of 1/2 lemon and let sit overnight if possible.  If you do not have the time, pour the juice of 1/2 lemon and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  When you are ready to cook the chicken preheat your oven to 350 F and remove from the bag and dredge with flour, shaking off the excess.  Use rice flour if you are gluten free.  In a large ovenproof skillet (see note below), heat the oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over MED or MED HIGH heat for about 7-10 minutes. Flip and repeat for another 7-10 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside while you work on the sauce. 

Add the garlic and wine to the skillet and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, lemon zest/peel, thyme, capers and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add butter if you are using.  Give a quick stir to make sure everything is incorporated. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven and braise for about 45 minutes, until the meat is tender. Try to baste the chicken 3-4 times with the sauce during the cooking process if you can.  The chicken will be juicy and the skin will be crunchy.  It will be perfect!

If you do not have an ovenproof skillet/pan, then transfer the browned chicken onto a baking pan (9 x 13 glass or otherwise) and pour the sauce over it and bake as directed.

Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine