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 cooklocal.com (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)
- 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)
- Peel the shallots; if any are particularly large, halve them. Peel the carrots and cut into smallish chunks. Chop the rosemary.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- 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.)
- Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
- 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.
- Boil and reduce the cider to approximately 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Plate the chicken and arrange the carrot-and-shallot gravy over it.