In the early days of fall, nothing is nicer than gathering around a fragrant and nourishing stew at dinnertime. Braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques because it offers so much flavor with so little fuss. After quickly searing both sides of the meat, simply add liquid (wine, bone broth, vegetable stock) and let simmer.
Arguably, timing is the trickiest aspect of cooking. By eliminating the need for precise timing, braised meats offer mealtime flexibility to accommodate late arrivals, which makes this a great dish for dinner parties or families with scheduling challenges. Removing the stress of exact cooking times makes evening meal preparations significantly more relaxing. Leftovers can be packed away in a container or thermos for tomorrow’s lunchbox.
Recipe: Braised Chicken and Vegetables
Makes 4 – 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter, such as Kerrygold
- 2.5 – 3 pound whole chicken cut into pieces; or bone-in breasts, thighs and drumsticks
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 – 6 carrots, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 3 ribs of celery, sliced into 1-inch pieces (you may add and/or substitute other
- Vegetables of your choice such as zucchini, mushrooms or potatoes)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup dry white wine (substitute broth or stock if you prefer)
- 2 or more cups bone broth or good quality chicken stock, depending upon size of your pot
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano, tarragon or a combination
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley (or other herb) for garnish
- Lemon zest from one small lemon (optional)
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or enameled cast iron pan. Rinse and pat dry the chicken and season each piece with salt and pepper and place in pot. Over medium high heat, brown the chicken on each side—about 5-7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to pot, and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring and loosening any browned vegetables stuck to the pot. Bring wine to a simmer and then add the chicken pieces, placing them on top of the vegetables. Add enough broth or stock to come halfway up the sides of the chicken pieces (e.g. chicken is not submerged in liquid but is partially covered in liquid) and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle herbs and fresh lemon zest, if using, on top of chicken and cover pot with lid. Let simmer gently for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Check seasoning and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley to serve.