Perfect for cold winter nights, this hearty chicken and wine stew is French comfort food.
4 large chicken legs, each cut in half
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil, as needed
2 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme or rosemary, chopped or left whole or substitute 1 tsp. dried herbes de Provence
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound small red potatoes, cut in half if large
2 medium carrots, thickly cut on the diagonal
2 to 3 thick slices of bacon, cut in big pieces
3 cups medium white mushrooms, quartered
4 shallots, halved
2 tbsp. flour, for slurry
2 tbsp. chopped parsley, for garnish
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
In large Dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. To avoid overcrowding the pan, cook chicken in batches. Brown chicken pieces on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to plate. Drain fat, if desired.
Add 2 tbsp. butter to Dutch oven. Add onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Stir and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add red wine and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan to incorporate them into the wine. Let cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer.
Add chicken back to pan, along with potatoes and carrots. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, as you make the remaining garnishes (about 10 to 15 minutes).
Add bacon to large sauté pan over medium heat. When golden brown remove from pan and transfer to paper towel to drain excess fat. Add to chicken. Leave 1 to 2 tbsp. bacon fat in pan. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and shallots to chicken.
Whisk flour and 1/2 cup chicken stock until smooth to make slurry.
Stir in slurry to chicken. Bring to a boil ane then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and whole thyme sprigs (if using whole herbs).
If desired, to thicken sauce further, remove chicken and vegetables and keep warm. Reduce sauce over medium high until thickened to desired consistency, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add chopped parsley before serving.
Yield: 4 servings.