Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking with wine is a no brainer in France and they’ve mastered the art of blending the fruit of the grape with food for centuries. There is no more iconic wine-based Bordeaux dish than coq au vin, translated as “rooster in wine” and though in the States we may have a hard time sourcing rooster, chicken thighs are a great substitute when you’re in the mood to truly dine instead of just eat your supper.
Delicious and impressive, this dish is deceptively simple and easy to pull together. Chicken thighs and vegetables simmer away with basic in-your-fridge and pantry vegetables and a generous dose of Bordeaux’s famous white wine, Sauvignon Blanc. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cook up fast and tender in the winey broth and because they’re skinless there’s less fat in the dish. The orange zest added at the end gives this chicken in a pot a bright citrusy note that you’ll find particularly addictive.
I’m as likely to make this family favorite on a weeknight as I am to make it for company on the weekend because most of the cooking time doesn’t require my time and attention. Once it’s all in the pot I can move on to other endeavors. Plus, the leftovers taste even better the next day.
It’s that easy: Remember, never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink! Choose a food friendly wine such as a sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or a non-oaky chardonnay when cooking with wine and by all means, pour yourself a little glass to sip while this simple but tasty dinner simmers away.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 carrots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalk celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc
1 bay leaf
One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 orange, zested and juiced
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley for garnish
Cooked rice, noodles or toasted bread as an accompaniment
Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Salt and pepper the chicken and when the oil shimmers, add it to the pan and cook until the chicken begins to brown and the bottom of the pan turns a rich brown color, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, garlic, celery, onion and thyme and continue to cook for 3 minutes or until it the color brightens and the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the wine, bay leaf, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer the stew for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables and chicken are tender.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool slightly. Turn the heat to medium-high and boil until the sauce reduces somewhat and the flavor intensifies, about 4 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
Shred or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and return it to the pot along with the orange juice and half the parsley.
Serve the chicken stew in shallow heated bowls with rice, noodles or toasted bread. Garnish the top with the remaining parsley and orange zest and serve hot.
Make-ahead: The dish can be made, cooled, covered and chilled in the refrigerator up to 2 days before serving. Just reheat over medium-low heat and serve.
In the glass: Even though you’ve used a white wine to cook this recipe you may like a lighter bodied red (think Beaujolais) to drink with it. And that’s okay. A rosé would be nice as well. Or just go ahead and drink the white wine used for the braise. It will be delish.
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