Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Braised Chicken with Pancetta and Shallots

Braising meat always produces such tender, juicy and tasty dishes!! It definitely is one of my favourite methods of cooking, especially during the cold winter months. Everything is cooked in one pot and so all the flavours combine to produce very tasty sauces.  This dish uses chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks, (although I just used thighs on this particular day).Pancetta is Italian bacon and you can find it in most grocery stores or deli's. I bought it already chopped at Superstore.  My family  told me it was definitely "blog worthy".  Serve over creamy mashed potatoes.

1/4 cup olive oil

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Cup pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch dice or bacon if you cannot find pancetta

8 medium shallots, lobes separated, large lobes halved through the core

4 medium carrots, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices, large slices cut in half

1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch dice

3-4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1 bay leaf

2 cups dry fruity white wine, preferably a German dry Riesling

3 cups lower-salt chicken broth

1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oven to 300°F.Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 7- to 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Arrange the chicken skin side down in the pot in a snug single layer and sear, flipping once, until golden brown all over, 10 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Cook the pancetta in the pot until well browned all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off and discard the fat.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots, carrots, and fennel, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until its aroma subsides, 1 to 2 minutes.

Tie the, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf together with twine (or tie them in a small cheesecloth sachet). Add the herb bundle to the pot, along with the wine.Or add bay leaf and dried thyme directly to the pot if you are not using fresh thyme. Simmer briskly, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the brown bits. Add the broth and return the chicken and pancetta to the pot, arranging the chicken in a single layer. Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to the oven.

Braise the chicken until the meat is fork-tender and just starting to come away from the bone, 1-2 hours.

Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter with a slotted spoon and tent with foil. Discard the herb bundle. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat and reduce to 2 cups, about 15 minutes.Thicken the sauce with a flour water mixture until the desired thickness is acquired. Stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley.
Make Ahead Tips

This dish may be made up to 2 days ahead. Let the sauce cool before adding the chicken and vegetables and refrigerating. Reheat gently over medium-low heat before serving.

Braised Chicken with Pancetta and Shallots: Print Recipe
Heat oil in pot. Season chicken and brown chicken on both sides.

Remove browned chicken to a plate.

Cook pancetta or bacon.
Remove cooked pancetta to paper towel lined plate.
Peel and slice shallots.

Prepare and chop fennel.

Prepare and chop carrots.

Add oil to pot, heat and add vegetables.

Cook until browned about 7 minutes

Add minced garlic.

Add wine

Simmer and scrap bits from bottom of pot.

Add chicken broth and pancetta.

Add herbs. Fresh or dry. In this recipe I could not find fresh thyme to which I prefer so I add dried. Add bay leaf.

Put oven proof pot in the oven and bake for 1-2 hours, until meat is fork tender and easily comes away from the bone, but NOT falling off the bone.
Remove chicken and vegetables from the pot. when finished cooking.

Heat the liquid and simmer to concentrate and thicken the sauce.

I prefer lots of sauce so I thicken it using a mixture of approximately 1/4 Cup flour to 1 1/2 cups cold water. Add to sauce until desired consistency has been reached. Add lemon zest and salt and pepper if desired.

Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Serve over mashed potatoes.
The flavour of this sauce is divine! 

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