I recently had a bit of a weird notion that I could actually be a vegetarian or even vegan and that I could really make a go of this blogging thing, as that would be my point of difference (i’m not bad with the veggie recipes). Then I made this braised chicken dish and knew that there is not a snowflakes chance in hell that I will ever be either. I actually had a good old belly laugh when I had my first mouthful as who was I kidding? I freakin’ love chicken! Particularly when it is braised in wine and herbs and loads of garlic and pancetta and white beans and lemon rind and so on. This is my ultimate eating……..hearty, flavour packed, easy, rustic, finger licking, bone munching, pure, unadulterated bliss. I could eat this in the Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring and never get sick of it. Have I convinced you? Are you aware of how much I love this? Ok…….I’ll shut up now and you go and write your shopping list.
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cooking time: 1 Hour
$$ Medium Budget
Olive oil for frying
8 chicken thigh fillets, skin on and bone in
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 large brown onion, diced
200gm of diced pancetta or smokey bacon lardons
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and stalks discarded
8 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and stalks discarded
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 cup of dry white wine
1/2 a cup of chicken stock
2 x 400gm tins of Cannellini Beans, 1/2 a cup of the tin liquid reserved
Sea salt and cracked pepper
12 x truss tomatoes, nice and ripe
1 cup of flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Fresh grated parmesan for sprinkling
Chilli flakes for sprinkling (optional but awesome)
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Steamed greens or a crisp green salad to serve
Crusty bread to mop up the juices is also a winner
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To make the braised chicken, heat a large heavy based casserole or pan and add a little oil. Season the chicken thighs with a little salt and pepper and cook them, in batches if needed, skin side down first, until golden and crispy. Turn over and cook for a couple of minutes on the under side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
If there is a lot of oil and fat in your pan, drain a little off so that you are left with about 1/4 of a cup. Return to the heat and add the pancetta to the pan, stirring and frying until golden. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme leaves and fry gently until the onion is starting to soften. Add the lemon juice and wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the flavour from the bottom of the pan. Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes and then add the cannellini beans, stock and reserved tin liquid, season with a little salt and a good sprinkling of pepper. Give the contents a good stir and bring to a simmer before placing the chicken (and any juices) back in the pan, skin side up. Spoon over the juices and bake the braised chicken in the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
At the 30 minute mark, place the tomatoes around the top of the pan. Give them each a little drizzle of olive oil before returning to the oven for around 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to split.
To serve, remove the tomatoes and chicken from the pan and set them aside for a minute on a baking tray and stir through 2/3rds of the flat leaf parsley through the beans before you divide them between four shallow bowls. Once you have divided the beans, place two thigh fillets on each plate with 3 truss tomatoes. Grate over a good sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese and a smattering of lemon rind. Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and remaining parsley and serve with greens of your choice and glorious crusty bread.
Leftover Pancetta? You may wish to cook this……