Storified by Arya McLean· Wed, Apr 03 2013 23:14:03
Chicken pieces are braised in a red wine and enhanced with salt pork, butter, shallots, cloves, parsley, chervil, bay leaf, thyme, brandy and mushrooms in this delectable recipe adapted from The Prudence Penny Regional Cookbook by Prudence Penny. A centuries-old French cooking technique, braising is a moist-heat cooking method that tenderizes the toughest cuts of meats and in this case creates a juicy and moist chicken with an exquisite flavor from the herbs and red wine.
You can use almost any dry red wine to make this gourmet cooking recipe. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are some of the good choices for cooking. If you want a fuller bodied wine with a fruity flavor, try using Beaujolais. The chicken pieces are first sautéed until brown to seal in their moisture and then braised in the white wine together with the spices and seasonings.
Before cooking the chicken, rinse it well and pat it dry so that it browns nicely. Use a large and heavy-bottomed saucepan preferably a cast iron or Dutch oven to allow even distribution of heat even at high temperatures. The chicken should be sautéed in hot oil over medium heat. Cook them in a single layer without crowding so that they brown evenly. It takes about 8 to 10 minutes per side to brown the chicken pieces. If all the chicken pieces don’t fit in your pan sauté them in batches.
The braising method relies on slow steady heat and slow-simmering liquid. It is important to use a pot or pan that is designed for slow cooking, one with a tight-fitting lid to allow the moist heat inside the pot to circulate inside and release flavorful juices into the cooking liquid. A properly braised chicken almost never burns, as long as the temperature stays at around 300 to 325 degrees F. Too high heat will cause the braised dish to dry out.