Chicken in Riesling

When everything is in balance, our evenings rotate between quiet home-cooked meals for two, raucous dinner parties, and nights of overeating on the town. Usually, there is time for the farmer’s market, for the wine shop, and for making sure we don’t run out of napkins.

But our schedules have been nutty and there have been nights and nights of takeout containers and entire weekends of eating out. I’m not complaining—on Matt’s parents’ recent visit, we hit quite a few neighborhood highlights, from Banjara for lamb rogan josh and spicy chaat to Motorino for swoonworthy cremini and smoky scamorza pizza. Nothing to complain about. But when we came up for air at the end of the weekend, all I wanted was something simple.

This dish hit the spot—chicken from a local farm, braised in riesling till tender and juicy, full of real chickeny flavor. It’s light but luxurious, enriched with homemade chicken stock, fruity wine, fragrant leeks, and silken crème fraiche. Sweet carrots and parsnips may be the only vegetables in season now, but they’re all you really want in this dish. If you buy your chicken already cut up, the recipe is a breeze—spend your time tracking down good poultry and flavorful dairy (I love everything from Ronnybrook Farms.)

I forgot the squeeze of lemon when I first served this, but I recommend remembering—it adds just a hint of brightness and enhances the flavors without turning everything lemony.

We oohed and ahhed, and nearly licked the sauce from the plate—be sure to serve this with something to sop it up.

Looking for more March recipes? There will be a roundup soon at Gourmet, Unbound.

More chicken dishes from P&C:
Asian Marmalade Chicken
Chicken in Milk
Chili and Honey Chicken
Walk Away Roast Chicken

Chicken in Riesling
adapted from Gourmet, March 2008
serves 3

olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small chicken, (preferably sustainably raised) cut into 8 parts, or about 3 pounds chicken pieces
butter
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4 leeks, cleaned well with outer leaves removed, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 1/2 cups riesling
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock (or low salt prepared stock)

To finish:
3 tablespoons crème fraiche
1/4 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the lower half.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a stainless steel frying pan over medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Brown chicken pieces (in two batches if needed), five minutes on each side. Meanwhile, add a small knob of butter and a splash of olive oil to a six-quart dutch oven and cook carrots, parsnips, and garlic, stirring occasionally. When the chicken is nearly browned, add the leeks and stir.

Add chicken to dutch oven on top of the vegetables. Deglaze frying pan with wine and broth, scraping any browned bits from the pan. Pour resulting liquid into dutch oven. Cover dutch oven and bring to a simmer, then move the pot into the oven to braise. Cook 40-50 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

When ready to serve, stir in crème fraiche and the juice from 1/4 of a lemon. Serve with potatoes, polenta, or noodles to soak up the sauce.

In Uncategorized, braising, chicken

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