Thursday, December 10, 2009
CIDER-BRAISED CHICKEN WITH ROOT VEGETABLES
At brunch on Sunday, I picked up a copy of a magazine aimed at increasing tourism in the county where we live. It always includes a recipe or two, many provided by local restaurants. I knew as soon as I read the recipe for the Harvest Cafe's cider-braised chicken that I had to make it. The recipe did not offer measurements, but that was easy enough to work through.
1 whole chicken, cut up (I cut mine into 10 pieces)
root vegetables (1 medium onion, 3 parsnips, 3 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 1 ruttabagas-medium dice)
salt and pepper
fresh thyme and sage (I used a big bunch of thyme and 2 large sprigs of rosemary, tied up in cheesecloth)
cider (2 1/2 cups)
flour for dredging (1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
olive oil (2 tbs)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Season the chicken parts and dredge in the flour.
Saute the chicken in olive oil in a Dutch oven until browned on both sides.
Remove the chicken from the pan, put in the root vegetables, and saute until browned and carmelized.
Return the chicken to the pan, add the fresh herbs and salt and pepper, then add the cider.
Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, then cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
Serve over polenta or other starch.
Mere words cannot do justice to this dish. From the incredible aroma that made our mouths water and long for the timer to go off, to the succulence of the chicken, this is a dish that I will make again and again. I already have a request for it to be made with all dark meat, something that I am only to happy to do. The slightly bitter tang of the ruttabaga came to life after braising in the sweet cider. The carrots and onions added even more sweetness, but a natural sweetness. Served over grilled polenta rounds, this was my very favorite newcomer this fall. Don't take my word for it; make it! Soon!