Prep 5 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Chicken braised in red wine with celery, onions, and mushrooms. The burnt brandy brings a unique sweetness to this classic French dish. Adapted from "The Spice Cookbook" by Day and Stuckey (1964). It's my understanding that this kind of slow-cooked dish is best when using an old, free-range bird. Slow cooking in the wine tenderizes the otherwise tough meat, and older free-range birds develop more flavor than the young poultry-factory chickens we usually get in the store.
- 3 lbs chicken, ready to cook
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup celery, chopped to 1/4-inch lengths
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chopped bacon, uncooked (check with a local butcher to see if they have bacon ends... cheaper than regular bacon, and pre-cho)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, pressed or smashed or finely minced)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 12 whole mushroom caps
- 12 whole cloves
- 1⁄3 cup brandy
- 1 3⁄4 cups red wine
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons flour
- In a large bowl, mix the 1/2 cup flour, the nutmeg, and the 1 tsp salt.
- Cut chicken into parts. Remove the skin.
- Place butter and oil in a dutch oven or other flame-proof casserole dish. Heat slowly to melt butter. ALTERNATIVELY, use a heavy skillet.
- Dredge each chicken part in the flour mixture.
- Turn the heat up and brown the dredged chicken in batches. Remove to a plate, but leave the drippings.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Add the bacon and onions. Cook, stirring as needed, until onions begin to soften.
- Add celery and continue cooking until onions are golden.
- Reduce heat and add bay leaf, thyme, garlic, and 2 tsp salt. Stir to mix and cook 1 minute, then remove from heat.
- Remove veggies to a plate. Place chicken back in the dutch oven and pour veggies on top. ALTERNATIVELY, place chicken in an oven-proof casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and pour veggies on top.
- Stick a clove into each mushroom cap and place into dutch oven or casserole dish so that they do not break.
- Pour brandy atop the veggies, spreading evenly throughout.
- Ignite brandy with a creme brulee torch or a long-stemmed lighter.
- When brandy has burnt out, add 1 1/2 cup of the red wine, place the lid on, and bake 1 1/2 hours. Chicken should be very tender.
- Whisk together the last 1/4 cup of the wine and the final 1 1/2 tbsp of flour. I did this by simmering on the stove top so that I could check it frequently. You could do it in the oven too, if you don't have a flame-proof dutch oven, but I'm not sure how frequently you'd need to check it.
- Serve with French bread to soak up the sauce with.