Braising is such a fabulous technique for cooking moist, tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken and meat. I will admit that it is more labor intensive than a plain roast, but boy is it worth the (little) effort! This recipe is a classic preparation, but I have already played around with different variations, such as mushrooms and kale. It is an elegant dish, worthy of any dinner party, and I guarantee your guests will be admiring your cooking skills!
The recipe calls to sauté the chicken in olive oil to crisp up the skin and develop the flavors. This is what takes the most time (and in my poorly ventilated kitchen, also causes for quite a smoke), so I've tried just broiling the chicken instead, which also developed some nice color and crispiness, but didn't provide the flavor that send this over the top. Either way, you will have a wonderful chicken dish that you are bound to enjoy!
6 pieces of chicken, skin and bone included (legs and thighs preferred)
5 carrots, peeled and diced
3 leeks, washed and dried, cut into half disks
5 celery stalks, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbs olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz / 411 g) or 3 ripe tomatoes diced
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup olives, pitted and halved
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp dried mint
1 tbs sweet paprika
Pinch of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper
1. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tbs of olive oil until very hot and sauté the chicken (in batches), skin side down for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and pepper, flip and sauté until bottom side is nicely browned.
2. Remove the chicken from the pan, and discard about half of the fat drippings. (I use a spoon and carefully tilt the pan)
3. Add the diced carrots and celery, and sauté on high heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and leeks and sauté another 2 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper, and add the wine to the pan, deglazing the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the wine for 2 more minutes.
5. Add the tomato paste, chili flakes and paprika and gently stir to combine.
6. Add the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, olives and tomatoes and gently stir to combine. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes until it comes to a boil.
7. Add the sautéed chicken to the pan, skin side up, and gently push down so the chicken is surrounded by the sauce.
8. Add the chicken stock as needed (the sauce should come almost to the top of the chicken, but not cover it). Give the pan a shake, cover with a lid, reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour, or place in a 350F pre-heated oven.