Of all the cooking magazines out there, Fine Cooking is definitely one you can always count on for great recipes. They do a ton of testing and they have fabulous contributors too. Recipes and methods are always described very well, and photos accompany everything. They’re not always easy-to-make recipes but if they’re more complicated, the instructions are there. If you can hack the $29.95 yearly subscription fee for 6 issues, it’s worth subscribing.
January/February food magazine covers sometimes don delicious comfort food intending to attract cooks who need warming up on a wintry day. This rustic-looking dish- Wine-Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta- is one of those covers. It’s from last year’s Feb/Mar issue, and it’s a cover that I hadn’t forgotten. Chicken thighs are braised with shallots and carrots, and they’re coated in a beautiful, brown pancetta sauce. My sister made this one for our family over the Christmas holidays. It’s similar to Coq a Vin but using Riesling instead of red wine.
Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe…
Wine- Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 min
1/4 cup olive oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
4 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 lbs)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch dice (1 heaping cup)
8 medium shallots, lobes separated, large loaves 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
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups dry fruity white wine, preferably Alsatian or German dry Riesling
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Heat 2 Tbsp. 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 10-13 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. 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.
4. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. 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.
5. Tie the parsley sprigs, 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. 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.
6. Braise the chicken until the meat is fork-tender and just starting to come away from the bone, 35-45 minutes.
7. 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 boil over high heat and reduce to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. 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: 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.
*You might be tempted to use skinless thighs for this recipe but I'm afraid it won't turn out the same. The skin-on thighs give the dish the extra fat needed to make it such a fabulous dish.
*Pancetta can usually be found at your deli's meat counter. Just tell them you want 7 ounces of thick-cut slices, then cut them into diced pieces at home.
Source: Fine Cooking, Feb/Mar 2009
*This recipe wasn’t difficult to make but it was very time consuming. My sister worked for quite some time (seemed like at least a couple of hours from start to finish), but it was well worth the work. The chicken was very tender, and all of the flavors came through wonderfully. It was a warm and comforting meal. I absolutely loved it- I’d make this recipe again in a heartbeat. It would be perfect for a Gourmet Dinner Party.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
YES! I loved everything about this recipe and the cover conveys a hearty meal, which is the focus of the issue.