Sunday, March 22, 2009

Braised Chicken in Marsala Wine with Herbes de Provence

Searing the chicken over high heat in butter and olive oil is the secret to this dish. Place the chicken in the pan and don’t touch it. The flesh will contract immediately and caramelize, producing a rich, golden brown coating. Later, when adding the wine, the brown bits created in this searing process will blend in with the sauce. This is what braising is all about – and it’s oh so good!!

3 large chicken breasts with ribs, about 2 ½ pounds
6 chicken thighs about 2 ½ pounds (you may substitute or add chicken legs and wings)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon organic unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large bell peppers (green, orange red or yellow), seeded, veins removed, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1 ½ cups
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
1 cup Marsala wine
1 cup marinara sauce (if you don’t have any home made sauce, choose good quality sauce in a jar)
Chopped fresh parsley
Cooked Rice or Pasta

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Use a sharp knife to slice the breasts in half so that they are the same size as the thighs.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the chicken pieces into the skillet, skin side down. Do this in batches so that you do not crowd the pan. Sear until the chicken is browned on one side, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn, season again, and sear until the chicken is browned on both sides, about 5 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a platter.

Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan. Cook the onion and peppers in the pan until well browned. Season with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Pour in the Marsala and simmer until most of the liquid disappears, about 5 minutes. Pour in the marinara sauce and stir. Place the chicken pieces back into the pan. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Garnish the chicken with chopped fresh parsley and serve over rice or pasta (I like this dish served over orzo, cooked in chicken broth with a sprig or two of fresh thyme nestled in the pot.

Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Sources and Substitutions
Herbes de Provence is a combination of dried herbs that capture the flavors of the sunny region of the South of France. The mixture typically contains savory, fennel, basil, thyme and lavender flowers. It is available on-line and in many specialty food markets.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails