Here is another recipe in my A Week In Provence series
As I've said before, I love dark meat chicken. I was excited to learn a new technique for cooking it when I was with Patrick Payet at Famous Provence.
*Patrick said that this recipe would work well with chicken legs, and he was right. The original used rabbit, not chicken. See the notes section at the bottom for details.
The technique is to cook using a hybrid of baking and braising. Start the chicken in a hot oven, and halfway through the cooking time add liquid to come halfway up the chicken. This technique gives you tender, braised meat with crispy, browned skin, and the braising liquid becomes a delicious sauce! The pan drippings combine with white wine, vinegar, tomatoes and onions to give you a sweet, earthy sauce with a sharp edge.
- 4 chicken legs, trimmed of excess fat
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- (optional) giblets from chicken legs (or giblets from a chicken, or 2 chicken livers)
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- ½ medium onion, sliced thin
1. Prepare the chicken legs: Start by preheating an oven to 400*F. Put the chicken legs in a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the legs evenly with the salt and pepper, then coat with the dijon mustard. (I put 2 teaspoons of mustard on each leg, then smear it over the leg with my hands. If you want to be neat about it, you can brush it on with a pastry brush.) Arrange the legs in the baking dish so they are in one layer and skin side up. Sprinkle the herbes de provence evenly over the legs, then drizzle with the olive oil.
*If you are using the optional giblets, put them in the pan with the chicken legs. Chicken legs usually come with a little bit of the giblets still attached, which is where I get them for this recipe. I carefully cut them loose from the edge of the thigh. See the pictures below.
2. Cook the chicken legs: Put the baking dish in the oven, and cook for 25 minutes. Pour the white wine, vinegar, and diced tomatoes over the chicken. (You want the liquid to come no more than half way up the chicken. Add more or less wine as necessary.) Scatter the sliced onions on top of the chicken, return he dish to the oven, and cook for another 25 minutes. Baste the chicken with the juices in the pan, then cook for 10 more minutes.
3. Serving: Remove the pan from the oven. Put the chicken legs on a platter, then scoop the tomatoes and onions onto the platter using a slotted spoon. Pour the liquid in the pan into a gravy separator, and let the fat rise to the surface, about five minutes. Pour the liquid over the chicken, then serve.
*If you have the optional giblets, move them small bowl, and mash to a paste with a fork. Pour the defatted liquid into the bowl with the giblets, and whisk to combine, then pour over the chicken and serve.
|Chicken and sauce ready for the table|
*Skinned chicken: Replace the chicken legs with 8 chicken thighs, and peel the skin off before cooking them. This is more faithful to the original version (rabbits are sold skinless), and you can skip the defatting step in the recipe. The mustard coating will protect the chicken while baking.
*I don't do this with chicken legs because it is hard to get the skin off of the drumsticks.
*Italian style: Italy and provence are very close together, so they share a lot of flavors. Skip the dijon mustard, replace the white wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar, and replace the herbes de provence with a mix of fresh thyme and rosemary.
*Rabbit: In the original, Patrick used rabbit legs. Rabbit legs are smaller than chicken legs, so you have to use more of them (I would go with six), and you only cook the recipe for 40 minutes (20 min, add wine, 20 min, done). I use chicken legs because they work well with the technique. Rabbit is really hard to find in my area. When I did find it, it wasn't as good as the rabbit in provence.
*Finally, I don't have to worry about anyone having a "Oh no! We're eating Bugs Bunny!" reaction.
**For some reason, no one ever has a "Oh no, we're eating Foghorn Leghorn!" reaction.
***Update: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago. I didn't know the New York Times was about to publish Hip-Hop Cuisine - Rabbit for Dinner, and kick off Rabbit Week on the food blogosphere. If I had known, I might have tried to find some rabbit. I could have been on the cutting edge of food!
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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