Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gourmet's Chicken in Riesling

Lately, I've been seriously digging the new Gourmet website - and the new Bon Appetit magazine, which has been completely re-done. I bought the subscription mostly to get Molly's column, but I'm loving the whole magazine too, especially the new issue on Paris - with lots of great recipes and an article from the charming Clotilde as well as Molly's piece on souffles. Gourmet also just did an issue on French bistro food, and this dish captivated my friend Jora and I while we were thumbing through it at her house a few days ago. With all this French food in mind, I was inspired to give it a try (especially when I noticed that it cooks in about an hour, which must be a record in the le Creuset!)

The dish is one of those rare birds (excuse the pun) where the payoff is disproportionately higher than the effort required to achieve it. It's easy enough for a weeknight, but indulgent and "fancy" enough for a special occasion or dinner party. It's also a virtual one pot meal - with the vegetables and potatoes in the pan - all you need is a salad, some crusty bread to soak up the sauce, and a nice crisp bottle of white wine.

Jora also made this dish this week, and said her husband mentioned it reminded him of chicken pot pie. I can definitely see that, especially if you use fresh spring peas like she did. If you went that route and served it with some biscuits you'd have a comfort meal extraordinaire.

I made this for two, and adapted it slightly - so I will give my version here. The original recipe can be found on Gourmet's website.
Gourmet Recipe - Chicken in Riesling
Chicken in Riesling
adapted from Gourmet magazine

8 thighs from an organic chicken, bone in, skin on (legs also work but I thought the white meat was a little dry. Stewing just isn't the best way to cook breasts.)
2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 leeks, white and light green parts - thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 medium shallot - minced - about 2 Tablespoons
a few springs of thyme (optional)
1 cup of dry white wine (preferably Riesling)
8-10 baby carrots (I used a mixture of red, yellow and orange)

1 pound of tender small potatoes -preferably fingerlings or red creamers.
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup half and half
lemon for squeezing

Preheat the oven to 350 with a rack in the middle.

Heat the butter and oil in a 5 quart or larger Le Creuset or other heavy dutch oven. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and brown it in the butter and oil in batches, about five minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the leeks and shallots to the fat in the pan (or you can change it you feel it's necessary, I didn't.) Cover the pot and saute until the leeks are soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and sprigs of thyme or other herbs if using.

Bring the mixture to a boil and add the chicken back to the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Nestle the carrots in and among the chicken and pan juices, and cover and braise in the oven for thirty minutes.

Meanwhile, boil or steam the potatoes (I used the microwave in the bag fingerlings from Trader Joes.) After about 30 minutes, check the braise - if the sauce isn't well-reduced and the skin isn't nicely browned - open the dutch oven and crank up the heat to 425 for about 15 minutes. (if your pot is big enough, you might not have to do this.)

When the meat is tender and the skin on the chicken is nicely browned - take the pot out of the oven and add your cooked potatoes. Pour in the half and half, sprinkle on the parsley, and toss the mixture lightly to coat the chicken with the sauce. Serve in wide bowls by placing some of the chicken, potatoes and carrots in the bowl and spooning the sauce over the top.

Serves 4.

A couple of variations - as Jora suggested, adding some peas at the end of the cooking time would be delicious. I think you could also stir a little dijon mustard in with the cream - a tablespoon or so would do it - added toward the end of the cooking time and stewed for a few minutes. Either way - it's a new (to me) cooking method for chicken that I'll be using often in the future!

Bon Appetit!


  1. A friend of mine just posted about this recipe in her blog the other day. It sounds really tasty.

  2. Steph - on what site? I googled and found a few so I don't know which one was your friend's. Guess that's what happens now that there are so many blogs!

  3. It was over on LiveJournal, and she had it locked so that only people she knows can read it.

  4. I am making this tonight <3

    Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Wow that looks like comfort food. So warm and delicious. I want a bite!

  6. OMG! That look so good.