BRAISED CHICKEN AND MUSHROOMS IN THYME MADEIRA SAUCE
For dinner tonight I made Braised Chicken and Mushrooms in a Thyme and Madeira Sauce served with Roasted Green Beans and Red Peppers with Garlic . I used succulent Chicken thighs, skinless and with the bone in, instead of the obvious Chicken breasts which to me, are much more dry and less flavorful. The bone provides moisture and flavor when you braise. Don't let the term braise scare you away from this easy and delicious recipe. Braising is simply browning in fat on the stove top then adding a liquid and simmering until tender in the oven or on the stove top. The recipe is divided into easy to follow steps that result in a delicious dinner. Fire up the stove and sharpen your knives and prepare to be Cooking The Amazing.
Here is the recipe.
2 lbs. Chicken Thighs, skinless, bone in
2 T Butter, unsalted
2 T Olive Oil, extra virgin
1 t Sea Salt, fine grain
1 t Black Pepper, fresh ground
2 t Thyme, dried or fresh
4 Strips Bacon, smoked, cut in lardons (see below)
2 Shallots (or 1 medium yellow Onion), diced fine
3 Garlic Cloves, minced fine
1 T Flour, all purpose
1 1/2 lb Mushrooms, sliced thick (such as Chanterell, Crimini, Oyster, or Mixture of Wild Mushrooms)
3 T Olive Oil, extra virgin
3 T Butter, unsalted
1 c Madeira Wine
1 1/2 c Chicken Stock
1 T Chicken Base (such as Better Than Bouillon)
3 T Thyme, fresh, leaves removed
STEP ONE: GET ALL INGREDIENTS READY
1. Measure out all the above ingredients and have them in order as needed for the recipe. This is a crucial step for recipe success in all recipes. It prevents leaving out ingredients and mistakes later.
Prep all Vegetables by slicing and dicing as directed.
Cut Bacon into lardons (see below). Your cooking process will go much smoother, I promise. This is called mise un place, a French cooking term meaning having everything in place and ready to use.
A good habit to get into.
STEP TWO: BROWN THE CHICKEN
2. In a large pan heat 2 T Butter and 2 T Olive Oil until hot on medium high heat. Add Chicken thighs allowing for plenty of room so they do not crowd the pan causing them to steam and not brown. Add Salt and Pepper to the tops of the cooking Chicken. Flip when the bottoms are brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add Salt and Pepper and 2 t of Thyme to the browned side as the the other side cooks for 3-4 minutes. When both sides are browned remove from the pan to a dish and set aside. The Chicken will not be all the way cooked through at this stage. Leave any oil in the pan for step two. Remove the pan from the heat so the oil does not burn.
STEP THREE: COOK THE BACON UNTIL CRISP
3. Stack 4 strips of smoked Bacon and cut into 1/4 inch strips across. This is a French cooking term called a lardon and is used to flavor and render fat for cooking. In the pan the Chicken was in, heat the residual oil on medium high heat then add the Bacon strips and cook until crispy. Then remove the pan from the heat and remove the Bacon to a paper towel lined dish to drain.
STEP FOUR: SAUTE THE SHALLOTS AND GARLIC
4. Dice the Shallots (or Onion) and Garlic into a fine dice. In the same pan place back on medium (reduce from medium high) heat. There should be 3 T Bacon fat left in the pan. If not add enough Olive Oil to make total of 3 T. If more than 3 T, remove the extra oil. Add the diced Shallots and cook for about 1 minute then add the Garlic and cook for about 30 secs. Stir in 1 T of Flour and cook for 2 minutes continuously stirring to prevent burning. The Shallots will begin to brown. Remove pan from the heat.
STEP FIVE: SAUTE THE MUSHROOMS
5. In different large pan, heat 3 T Olive Oil and 3 T Butter in medium high heat and add the sliced Mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown and are cooked through. You want the Mushrooms to brown and crisp. This may take 15 mins or so. Finish the braising sauce (step 6) while the Mushrooms continue to saute. Keep stirring the Mushrooms every minute or two while you make the sauce.
STEP SIX: MAKE THE BRAISING SAUCE
6. While the Mushrooms are sauteing, make the braising sauce. Place the Shallots and Garlic pan back on medium high heat and add 1 c Madeira Wine and bring to the boil stirring constantly then add 1 1/2 c Chicken Stock and 1 T Chicken Base and allow to boil and thicken stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan as you stir. These brown bits are pure flavor and will improve the sauce. The sauce will reduce and thicken and should coat the back of a spoon.
TIP: Find Chicken Base near the Bouillon cubes or cans of Broth at the grocery. It is a reduced meat paste that is full of flavor and Salt so always taste after using because it can make things very salty after reducing. Don't use Bouillon cubes. I use the brand Better Than Bouillon Organic that comes in a small jar.
STEP SEVEN: ADD THE SAUTEED MUSHROOMS AND CHICKEN
7. The Mushrooms should be sauteed by this point. Add them to the sauce and reduce the heat to medium low and mix them in well. Taste the sauce. Add Salt and Pepper as needed. Then place the Chicken thighs on top of the sauce and sprinkle with the 3 T of Fresh Thyme leaves and cover with a lid and braise for 20 minutes undisturbed. The sauce should simmer and bubble slowly, not boil. After 20 minutes taste the sauce again and correct for Salt and Pepper. Cut into the largest piece of Chicken and be sure it is cooked through. If not cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes more then recheck.
Serve over cooked Egg Noodles or Mashed Potatoes with Sauce spooned over liberally.
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