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4 slices thick ba­con, cut into 1-inch pieces, OR 2 ta­ble­spoons (or more) olive oil 8 whole, bone-in chicken legs, cut in two Salt and pep­per, to taste 20 pearl onions, peeled* 2-3 cups but­ton mush­rooms, halved* 3 whole cloves gar­lic, peeled 1/2 cup brandy 3 cups de­cent, dry red wine OR 2 cups wine plus 1 cup chicken stock Pinch thyme (op­tional) 1 bay leaf (op­tional) *see “In­gre­di­ent Hacks” be­low for sub­sti­tu­tions

In a heavy pot, cook the ba­con un­til the fat has been ren­dered and the ba­con is crisp (add olive oil if there’s not enough fat). Re­move ba­con bits and drain on pa­per tow­els. Salt and pep­per the chicken pieces, and brown in batches in the ba­con fat. Re­move chicken from pot and drain. Add the onions and mush­rooms and saute un­til just slightly colored. Add gar­lic cloves and ba­con bits. Re­turn chicken to pot and add brandy. Sim­mer un­til the al­co­hol burns off (about one minute). Add the red wine and herbs (if you’re us­ing them), and bring to a sim­mer. Sim­mer for 1 to 11/2 hours on low heat, un­til chicken is fall­ing-off-the-bone ten­der.

(Notes: The wine will turn the chicken a bit dark. This is nor­mal! If you’d like a thicker sauce: In a small bowl, mix a ta­ble­spoon of flour or corn­starch with a few ta­ble­spoons of pot liq­uid, re­turn mix­ture to pot and sim­mer un­til slightly thick­ened.) Serve hot or warm with slices of toasted baguette or your pre­ferred carb. Yields four por­tions or serves two with left­overs!

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