Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicken with Shallots and Balsamic Vinegar

As many of you may have seen on Facebook, I recently acquired a "French Oven" (commonly known as a Dutch Oven, but as it is made by Le Crueset, a French company, they insist on calling it a "French Oven" and therefore, I will call it that as well).  Anyway, I was dying to get one of these babies... finally it came on sale at $150 off the regular price.  I HAD to get my hands on one... I needed that tender, fall-off-the-bone meat in my kitchen ASAP.  Well, the day came when my new little baby arrived in the mail.  Then it occurred to me... I knew of no recipes that required a dutch/french oven!  Oh heavens, what was I to do?  Well...I remedied that problem real quick by heading over to Williams Sonoma and purchasing Essentials of Slow Cooking.  Now I was ready to get to work on my first dish.  Which one would it be?!?  There were so many to choose from!  Finally, I narrowed it down to this delicious fixin because I had many of the ingredients already in my kitchen and only needed to pick up a few things.

So here it is!:

These are what shallots look like
2 lb shallots, peeled
1 chicken, about 2 lb, cut into serving pieces (p.s. if you ask them at fresh market, they will cut up the chicken for you!!!)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs canola oil
1/4 cup dry red wine (I used a dry pinot that I found at fresh market)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Cut a shallow X in the root end of each shallot. Set aside.

Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.  In a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the canola oil.  Working in batches, add the chicken and cook, turning frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tbs of the fat in the pan.  Add the shallots and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, broth, and vinegar.  Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan, stirring and scarping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Transfer the chicken to a large French oven and add the shallot mixture.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the chicken is tender and opaque throughout, about 40 minutes.  Uncover, raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and cook, turning the chicken and the shallots occasionally to prevent scorching, until the liquid has thickened slightly, 5-10 minutes.

Transfer French oven into the oven set between 250-275 (high heat on a slow cooker) and cover and cook for 3 hours (alternatively, cook at low heat for 6 hours).  Uncover and set the tempature to the high setting if necessary, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and shallots to a warmed platter and top with remaining sauce (I did nothing of the sort--I served it in the French oven on a little protector for the table--easier and I don't have a serving platter...cue gasp).  Serve at once!

I served this with Simple Spinach:
Boil water.
Add 5 oz spinach to water for 1 minute.
Drain and strain.
Add 1/2 tbs olive oil, some salt and the juice from 1/4 of a lemon.  Delish!

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