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When I hear the word “braised” I am all in, heart and soul. There’s something about meat that cooks long and slow on a Winter’s day, with its percolating broth and tufts of steam lifting and escaping from beneath a rattling lid. Braising guarantees an aroma that is meant to satisfy the soul, wafting into every corner of the house, setting me at ease. Aside from a good snowfall, that is what I love about Winter.
Factor in some crispy bacon, and well, I won’t want to share. This (One-Pot) Braised Chicken with Black Lava Sea Salt is everything.
You’ll need a 6-quart or larger Dutch or French Oven and quality ingredients. I used locally raised chicken, uncured and nitrate free bacon, seasonal organic red potatoes and carrots, white mushrooms, pureed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh organic rosemary and thyme, chicken broth and white wine (but, of course).
The finishing touch is a sprinkle of Saltopia’s Black Lava Sea Salt, it’s a light-tasting salt that adds stunning depth and complexity. If you’re not familiar with Black Lava Sea Salt it is activated with charcoal, known for its health boosting minerals and for removing impurities from the body. What I really love though is the dusting of dark intrigue it adds as a finishing touch.
(One-Pot) Braised Chicken with Black Lava Sea Salt makes a lot of gravy, so be sure to have some good rustic bread on hand to mop it all up! Once the larger ingredients have been consumed, any leftover gravy (with it’s deliciously slivered bits of garlic and veggies) can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Use it the next day as a gravy/sauce over a side dish of egg noodles or rice. I can usually get two meals out of this stew.
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(One-Pot) Braised Chicken with Black Lava Sea Salt
4 strips bacon (uncured & nitrate free)
3-4 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on), excess fat trimmed
Seasoning for chicken (mix together: 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (use a fine grater)
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
2 celery stalks, finely chopped or pureed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Cheesecloth (to wrap the herbs in so it is easier to remove them later)
2 bay leaves
14 ounces whole-peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed (half of a 28 ounce can)
1 (ounce) container cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
6-7 medium-large red skinned potatoes, peeled, halved and quartered
1 cup dry white wine + another 1/4 cup (I use Sauvignon Blanc)
4 cups organic chicken broth (I use regular and not low-sodium as the potatoes need the salt, but low sodium is perfectly fine to use – note that you will have to adjust the addition of salt accordingly), plus 4 tablespoons more for the cornstarch slurry
3 tablespoons corn starch
Kosher salt and ground black pepper for taste
Have a 6-quart or larger Dutch or French Oven on hand.
Prepare all ingredients before you begin.
To prepare the herb bouquet, cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to fit the rosemary and thyme with room to securely wrap the herbs, securing with kitchen string or tie cheesecloth in a knot and set aside.
Prepare the slurry by adding cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of chicken broth to a jar and vigorously shake. Set aside.
- Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika, set aside,
- In a 6-quart or larger dutch oven, over medium heat, add bacon strips to bottom and cook until crispy, turning occasionally. Transfer to separate plate and set aside;
- Raise heat to medium-high and place seasoned chicken, skin side down, into the bacon fat. Let the chicken sear until the skin begins to crisp. It will release from the pan easily when seared well. If the chicken still sticks to the pan, give it another minute or two. Turn and sear the other side the same way. Repeat with any remaining pieces of chicken;
- Transfer chicken to separate plate and drain the fat in the pan, leaving behind about 3 tablespoons;
- Remove pot from the heat and add 1 cup of wine (go slowly as it may splatter in the hot pot). Turn the heat to low-medium and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon by scraping up the flavorful brown bits from the bottom of the pot (these bits are loaded with flavor and provide gorgeous color for the gravy). Allow wine to reduce by half. Add onions, carrots and celery, stir to combine;
- Add garlic, stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, potatoes and mushrooms and stir to combine. Add the additional 1/4 cup of white wine and 4 cups of chicken broth, stir to combine. Drop in herb bouquet (tuck it into the side of the pot) and bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil. Place the chicken back into the pot, skin side up, and reduce to a full simmer/low boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. *See note #1;
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Remove the bay leaves and the herb bouquet and discard. Give the cornstarch slurry another shake and slowly add to the pot while simultaneously stirring until the broth thickens up a bit, it should coat the back of a spoon;
- Add the bacon back to the pot by breaking it into bite-sized pieces, stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavor, only if necessary. Keeping in mind that a sprinkle of Black Lava Sea Salt will be used as a garnish, so don’t over do it.
- Add chicken back the pot. Use a slotted spoon to serve the chicken and vegetables into bowls, ladle a good amount of gravy on top and finish with a light sprinkle of Black Lava Sea Salt. Serve hot and with a good rustic bread!
- If the potatoes need another minute or so, but the chicken has cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken, tent the chicken under foil, and continue to simmer until potatoes are done. They should pierce easily with a fork, but not be mushy.
- Leave the chicken whole for this dish, it gives the stew a rustic feel. It can be pulled apart with each individual serving.
- If you plan to eat the skin on the chicken and feel it needs to be crisped-up after braising, place the cooked chicken into a baking dish and ladle a bit of gravy into the bottom of the dish, about 1/4 cup. Broil for about 5 minutes. Even if you don’t eat the skin, be sure to braise with the skin-on as it provides a good amount of flavor.
- This recipes makes a lot of gravy! The liquids are needed for braising, but you benefit from this two-fold: (1.) by being able to ladle as little or as much as desired when serving. My guys like a lot of gravy so they can mop it up with a good crusty bread! And (2.) after the chicken and veggies have been consumed, any leftover gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days and used as a sauce/gravy on top of a side dish like noodles (so good on egg noodles!) or rice, etc. I can usually get two meals out of this stew. Even a minimal amount of leftover gravy can be added to melted butter or to the rest of the San Marzano’s that we’ve halved and added into your next meal. Win-win!
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