A classic French dish, for wine lovers.
1/2 cup thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips or lardons
2 or more tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 pounds chicken, cut into parts, thoroughly dried
1/4 cup Cognac or Armagnac
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
20 pearl onions, peeled
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine, preferably Burgundy, Côtes du Rhône, or pinot noir
About 2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 or 2 garlic cloves, mashed or minced
About 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade tomato paste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, trimmed, rinsed
1. Put bacon pieces them in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or pot with a heavy tight fitting lid, along with 2 tablespoons oil over medium or medium-high until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.
2. Heat the drippings or oil remaining in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time. Cook the chicken, turning frequently, until nicely browned on all sides. Once you have done this to all the chicken pieces, return all the chicken to the pot. Carefully pour the Cognac or Armagnac into the pot and wait until it becomes bubbling hot. If desired and if you’re brave ignite the sauce with a bbq lighter. Let it flame for a minute, gently tilting the pot by its handle and swirling the sauce to burn off the alcohol. To extinguish the flames, simply cover the pan with its lid. Don’t set your kitchen on fire Mary!
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme to the pan and then pour the onions around the chicken. Cover the pot and let the chicken simmer gently, turning the pieces once, for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Uncover the pot, sprinkle the flour over everything, and turn the chicken and onions so the flour is absorbed by the sauce. The flour will thicken your sauce. Cover and cook, turning once or twice, for a few more minutes.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and gradually stir in the wine and enough stock to almost cover the chicken. Add the bacon, garlic, and tomato paste to the pot.
6. Cover, put pot on a rack about the middle of the oven for about an hour.
7. Open the pot and add the mushrooms and parsley, return for another hour. If the sauce seems too thick add a bit more wine or chicken stock.
A heavy cast iron dutch oven cooks the most amazing chicken & beef recipes, keeping it very tender. A worthwhile investment for your kitchen, creating fabulous dishes for recipes that are not as complicated as this one. They are solid and heavy, providing even heat distribution and keeping the steam and flavour in. Safe for the stove and oven as well… just make sure you have gloves on!