Thursday, January 13, 2011

Braised chicken, veggies and polenta

Have I mentioned that I'm in love with my Le Creuset dutch oven?

I love it. I really do. It was my favorite wedding present.

We hadn't braised anything in awhile, so we picked up some chicken thighs for a nice, cold winter night meal. (I will say that braising is the ONLY time I am a fan of chicken on the bone...bones gross me out. Can't help it.)

This was a joint effort - Steve took care of the braising and I made the polenta (really difficult, I know). I used America's Test Kitchen's recipe for basic parmesan polenta and added chopped bacon.

braised chicken and veggies
4 strips thick-cut bacon
4 chicken thighs
red wine (preferably dry, like a montepulciano)
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of white onion, chopped
1 cup of baby carrots
1 bag of spinach
olive oil

braising liquid
1 cup of beef broth
1/2 cup of red wine
1 heaping teaspoon of tomato paste
soy sauce to taste
red wine vinegar to taste
touch of worcestershire

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

We started by frying 4 strips of bacon in the dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Adds a bit of fat to the pan (reserve the actual bacon strips for the polenta).

Steve took over from there and browned the chicken thighs in the bacon fat.

Be still my beating heart...even typing that made me hungry.

After browning the chicken, remove the chicken thighs and get rid of the excess bacon fat (unless you feel like keeping it for something else - I won't judge). Add enough red wine to cover the bottom of the dutch oven and deglaze the pan.

Since there will be wine left over, pour yourself a glass.

Add garlic and shallot and simmer. Allow wine to reduce by half. Add the vegetables and a dab of olive oil. Allow vegetables to sweat a bit.

Spread vegetables evenly around dutch oven and add chicken (veggies moved around enough so chicken can be touching the bottom). Pour in braising liquid and let simmer uncovered for five minutes or so. Put in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Serve over polenta and try not to go back for seconds. I dare you.

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