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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Purple Chicken (aka chicken in wine sauce)

Thus called because well...it's kind of purple when it's finished. This is a family favorite; it's rich, tender, flavorful. The chicken is ultra-tender and wonderful.

8 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed off
5-6 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 lb button and cremini mushrooms, sliced thick
2 large onions, peeled, halved, sliced
1 rib of celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups dry red wine, divided
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons butter
fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish

Cook the bacon in a dutch oven until crispy; remove from pan. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then brown in the bacon fat (may need to do in batches). Remove from pan. Try not to snitch too much of the cooked bacon. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, then sautee the onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms in the pan over medium heat until cooked down, about 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee an extra minute. Remove veggies from the pan, then add 1/2 cup of wine to deglaze the pan, scraping well to get all the fond (aka the stuff browned onto the bottom of the pan). Put the chicken, bacon & veggies back in the pan with the chicken stock, 3 cups of wine, and thyme, and bring to a boil. (You should have 1/2 cup of wine left over) Transfer the dutch oven to a 250 degree oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chicken is falling off the bone. Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and veggies to an ovenproof bowl or plate. Be careful not to let the chicken fall apart. Turn the oven off and return the chicken to the oven to keep warm. Put the dutch oven on the stove on medium high and reduce the wine/stock by half. Reduce the temp to medium low. Mix the corn starch in 1/2 cup of remaining wine, then add to the wine sauce; whisk well. Then do a Julia Child and dollop in the butter, and stir to melt. Return the chicken and veggies to the pot, and let simmer for a few minutes until thick. Salt & pepper to taste.

Typically I serve this with mashed potatoes or brown/wild rice and a green veggie, and maybe a glass or two of pinot noir. To make a fully Francophile-esq company meal, I'll round it out with chocolate mousse for dessert. For even more "frou frou" ness, I've been known to use boneless chicken thighs, and tuck a sausage into the cavity.

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