Although spring is near, winter is not quite over for Broken Arrow or the rest of Oklahoma just yet. While the weather has been mild up to this point, the last couple of weeks have been downright chilly – the perfect time to dive into a big pot of braised chicken. Although it doesn’t have to cook a long time, it has that marvelous “cooked all day flavor.”
To reference an article from February 26, 2011, braising basically means to sear the food first and then cook low and slow, either in the oven or on the stove-top. Slow cookers are wonderful vessels for braising. Braising times can vary, depending upon the type of meat that is being used. Of course tougher cuts will take longer, but are also ideal for this type of cooking because simmering low and slow will help break down the meat and make it more tender.
For the most part, chicken will cook faster, but will still benefit from braising. It will be fall off the bone tender and will literally almost melt in your mouth.
Even if you’d rather not eat the skin, leave it on while the chicken is cooking and then remove right before eating. The skin helps keep the chicken moist and lends wonderful flavor too.
This chicken dish is based on a classic French dish called Chicken Chausseur, which literally means, “Hunters’ Chicken.” While traditional chausseur sauce uses veal stock, this version uses chicken broth or stock. White wine, brandy, tomato paste and fresh thyme give the sauce depth and rich flavor. Carrots replace traditional mushrooms, pair well with the chicken and lend their flavor to the sauce as well.
Hunters’ Style Braised Chicken Thighs
- 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 3/4 cup chicken broth or stock, plus more if needed
- 6 carrots, scraped and sliced on bias
- 3 thyme sprigs
Trim excess fat on chicken thighs, if desired. Salt and pepper skin side of chicken. Dredge lightly in flour.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil and then butter.
Place chicken in pot, skin side down and cook for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken and cook for another 4-5 minute or until golden brown. Remove chicken to a plate. Reserve brown bits, plus 2 tablespoon of drippings in Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium.
Sauté shallot and garlic in drippings for a few seconds until shallot is softened and garlic is fragrant. Add tomato paste and still for about half a minute or so. Stir in wine and brandy. Bring to a boil ;turn heat up slightly if needed. Reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and increase heat to high.
Return chicken, plus any accumulated juices back to pot. Add the carrots and thyme sprigs; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and adjust heat again and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Remove chicken and carrots to serving plate; discard thyme sprigs. With the pot off the burner, whisk remaining butter into sauce. Serve over chicken and carrots.
Makes 6 servings