Saturday, January 11, 2020

Chicken in a Pot (Braised Chicken)

Is there anything more comforting than chicken in a pot? Even though it was slightly freezer-burnt (my fault for throwing a whole bird in without wrapping it properly) the moist cooking process makes the meat fall apart tender and a perfect accompaniment to the carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Of course, a glug of white wine doesn't hurt either!

I know - it's only been a few weeks since turkey day and I'm sure everyone has just finished eating the leftovers (I know we have). That said, it's always nice to have a hearty, warm meal after a long week back to work and school, especially when the weather is cold and dreary like today. My hand was somewhat forced with this method of cooking (although it is still fully appropriate for these days) since when I went into my freezer to find something (probably cookie dough) I came across this bird, still in the original packaging, and looking slightly freezer-burned. Not one to waste food, I decided that I would try a low, slow and moist cooking method to try and re-invigorate the meat. With a pantry full of heart vegetables on hand, I got to work figuring that at the very least I'd have a good soup even if the meat wasn't overly palatable.

When I pulled the dish out of the oven, I was pleasantly shocked to discover that the meat was falling off the bone, the vegetables were cooked to perfection and the skin of the chicken was a perfectly burnished gold. I portioned the meat into individual containers with the veggies and gravy for mom to enjoy throughout the week, which was a welcome treat even after the poultry-geddon we just got through. While I won't make the mistake of freezing the bird in it's original wrapping again (at least not for an 8 month stretch), I will be making this again. The aromas alone are worth it, and the meal isn't half bad either!

Chicken in a Pot (Braised Chicken)
Serves 6
4 lb whole chicken, giblets removed
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp schmaltz (or butter)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced on the bias
8 Yukon Gold or red potatoes, quartered if large
3 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Season chicken inside and out with the salt and pepper, rubbing it into the skin. 
  3. In a heavy Dutch oven (I used my Staub), melt the schmaltz or butter and add the chicken and brown, breast side down, 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Turn over and brown second side another 5-10 minutes, then transfer chicken to a platter. 
  5. To the same pot, add the celery, onion and carrots and sauté for about 15 minutes, until the onion is beginning to soften and turn golden. 
  6. Add the potatoes and remove from heat.
  7. Place the chicken, breast side down, over the vegetables. 
  8. Add the broth, water, wine and vinegar, then tuck the herbs around the chicken.
  9. Cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes. 
  10. Turn chicken breast side up, remove the lid and cook another 15 minutes.
  11. Remove chicken and vegetables from pan and keep warm. Discard herb sprigs.
  12. Whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the liquid in the pot. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened.
  13. Serve chicken and vegetables with the gravy and enjoy!

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