Shallots break ground in spring. The purple-hued bulbs have a flavor somewhere between onion and garlic, and they braise to a delectable sweetness. White wine and tarragon enliven this pot, while dried mushrooms provide an earthy undertone.
Braised Chicken with Shallots & Mushrooms
4 1/2 lb. (2.25 kg.) assorted chicken pieces, preferably drumsticks and thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
6-8 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bottle (750 ml.) full-bodied white wine
3 Tbs. small pieces dried mushrooms, such as chanterelle or porcini
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) chicken broth
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) heavy cream
A few drops fresh lemon juice (optional)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
1-2 Tbs. chopped fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then rub with the oil. Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the chicken, turning occasionally, until brown, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan and place over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, broth and half of the tarragon. Pour the sauce into a deep roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Arrange the chicken in the sauce. Cook in the oven until the chicken is opaque throughout, 35-40 minutes.
Raise the heat to 400°F (200°C) and cook until the edges of the skin are crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a deep platter and tent with foil.
Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce. Place the pan over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil, and cook, stirring, until reduced by about half, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the cream. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and with lemon juice, if using. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the chives, chervil and remaining tarragon, and serve. Serves 4-6.
Find more simple one-dish dinners in our cookbook One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.