Browning and degalzing, that’s the name of the game, to develop complex rich flavors in every step of the process. The order in which components are browned is not important, all the components will end up in the same pot and cook slowly for a couple of hours, thats where depth and complexity will be layered together, creating the most delicious wine reduction to coat the chicken thighs.
6 chicken thighs
1/2 cup of bacon or salt pork, small dice.
15 perl onions
15 button mushroom
Bunch of thyme
4 garlic cloves
Bay leaf… or 3 small ones like i used, preferably turkish.
1 bottle of pinot noir
1 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of tomato paste. I used my home made tomato sauce instead, so about a cup.
2 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste.
Stainless steel pot or a cast iron dutch oven is a must for this to work the best. The reason, in order to brown fast and create a deglazable fond things need to stick to the bottom of the pot, being careful not to burn anything, but making sure to get a nice rich golden brown color, then deglaze with water or wine and on to the next component. Main components to process this way, bacon, chicken, pearl onions, mushrooms and the mirepoix (leave this one for last).
First we gotta render the fat from the bacon, once crispy, remove bacon from the pot and save for later, leave fat in the pot.
Then the chicken, don’t over crowd the pan, try browning on all sides, medium heat, don’t let anything burn, control the browning, keep an eye on the stove, even if things stick to the pan, don’t panic, let those bits brown and then deglaze. Once deglazed, wait until the liquid boils down to be able to brown the next batch, patience. The chicken can be left in the fridge overnight without covering it, so the skin dries up, this will quicken the browning process.
Now the perl onions, these can go all at once, and since their water content is so high, heat can be turned up and still be safe. Make sure to get a nice golden finish.
Now the mushrooms, this one step is interesting, butter goes in, after all the previous browning there’s a need to add extra fat to keep going, but one thing for sure, these mushrooms that brown in this fat and butter and the brownings of previously deglazed stuff are just incredible, you could stop there and forget about finishing the dish 😉
Then finally the mirepoix goes in, I like to sweat this for a bit, get some browning if possible, it is hard, because theres so much water in the veggies that makes it extremely hard for anything to caramelize, but again, patience, eventually it will but don’t go too far with it.
In goes the garlic, I’d be careful here as well, most thing can be browned, but garlic goes bitter rather easily, don’t let any garlic to go brown, light golden finish is all that’s needed.
And the final touches, some herbs to infuse some more notes into the dish, bay leaves, bunch of thyme, add the tomato paste here as well. Salt and pepper later, remember, this needs to cook for a long time, and reduce the sauce. The concentration of this braising liquid will go up.
The rest is about time and patience, since this dish is about braising, the amount of time will dictate how soft the chicken thighs get. About 2 hours is good (but different cooking times yield different textures, and overcooking the thighs is not what I want. Once finished cooking, do 2 things:
Put the chicken aside and strain the sauce through i fine sieve. Then place the strained liquid back in the pot (clean the pot before doing this) and reduce the sauce to a glaze. Extremely consecrated flavor at this point. Mix in bacon bits, mushrooms and perl onions. Let sit for 24 hours.