Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday supper

Sunday: Cider-Braised Chicken with young shallots and carrots; baked potatoes; new peas

We don't always have a Sunday supper - some weeks, I'm surprised we have either the energy or the inclination to eat at all by Sunday night, and neither of us wants to cook - but when we do, I like to make things that require longer cooking times. It doesn't really matter right now, since I'm at home during the day most days, but when I was working full time, a slow meal on Sunday was definitely a luxury.

This week, we had some dark meat left over from the whole chicken we bought the previous Sunday. I have a braised chicken recipe I make pretty often (from Art of Simple Food), but I wanted something a bit more spring-y. Stay with me - I know braising isn't really a "spring" thing. But, here in Seattle, it's still cool enough that having the oven on for a while is no problem.

I adapted a recipe from Molly Stevens' All About Braising, found on (although I would love a copy of this cookbook, I still don't actually have one). It's a fall/winter recipe as written, but I made a few substitutions and lightened it up a bit, and it definitely fit the bill.

While the braising happened, I baked the potatoes, too (next time, with the oven set that low, I really should microwave them for a bit first - they didn't cook quite right). At the very end, as I reduced the gravy, I briefly plunged some shelled peas into a small pot of boiling water. I salted them, put in a generous pat of some frozen sage-garlic butter from last fall, and we were good to go.

Cider Braised Chicken with Fresh Shallots and Carrots
(Adapted from cooking local's adaptation of Molly Stevens’ All About Braising)
Serves 4


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large bunch of fresh shallots
  • 2 1/2 cups hard cider (from Rockridge Orchards)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound young carrots
  • 2-4 C chicken stock (enough to keep the chicken pieces half-submerged throughout cooking - you may need to add more part-way through the cooking time)
  • 2 Tbsp Wondra or other instant flour (optional)
  1. Peel the shallots; if any are particularly large, halve them. Peel the carrots and cut into smallish chunks. Chop the rosemary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides in the same pan over medium-high heat. (Skin side first, for about 6-8 minutes and maybe 4 minutes on the reverse; you want a nice dark crust.)
  4. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
  5. Add the shallots and saute until lightly browned, stirring often to prevent burning. Add 2 cups of the hard cider and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Boil and reduce the cider to approximately 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.
  7. Add the rosemary and the last 1/2 cup of cider and reduce again until there is about 3/4 cup of liquid left in the pan.
  8. Add the carrots and some salt and pepper. Nestle the chicken between the veggies, skin side up. Add chicken stock to come about 1/2 way up the side of the chicken.
  9. Bake for 45-60 minutes until the thickest chicken piece is done and the parsnips are fork tender. The chicken should almost be falling apart.
  10. Remove the chicken and transfer the pan back to the stove. Over medium-high heat, boil the sauce for another minute or two to thicken it slightly. (If you have some Wondra, wisk a little bit of cold chicken stock with about 2 Tbsp Wondra, and add that to the gravy, too.)
  11. Plate the chicken and arrange the carrot-and-shallot gravy over it.

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