Monday, April 6, 2009

Bittman Can't Be Wrong... - Chicken with Riesling

I couldn't resist sharing this recipe from Mark Bittman's NY Times Blog Bitten. I'm dying to rush home and try it. I previously extolled the virtues of a "too sweet to drink" port with tilapia, and now Bittman gives us this Chicken with Riesling dish. I think he's onto something. I never think about cooking chicken with anything other than a dry or oaky white, but this makes a lot of sense and I'm feeling up to experimentation. I'll report back. Enjoy! Let me know how it turns out for you!

Recipe of the Day: Chicken With Riesling
By Mark Bittman

When wine is added to simmering chicken, it’s most often dry and white. Yet, a quick twist of these rules creates a chicken dish so simple that it’s bound to become a minimalist favorite. The key is slightly sweet white wine, a liquid whose fruity complexity adds a layer of flavor that no dry white wine could ever offer.

Chicken With Riesling
Yield 4 servings
Time 1 1/2 hours
Mark Bittman

Whenever you cook with few ingredients, the quality of each individual component gains importance. The wine plays such a major role here that it's worth buying the right one. You want a good, slightly sweet white; almost any German wine made with the riesling grape will do, except for those labeled "trocken," which means dry.
2 tablespoons butter or neutral-flavored oil, like canola
4 medium to large onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups slightly sweet riesling, preferably German
1 3- to 4-pound chicken, preferably kosher or free-range, cut into 8 or 10 serving pieces

1. In a skillet large enough to hold the chicken, heat butter or oil over medium heat for a minute or so.
2. Add onions and a large pinch of salt and some pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften completely and begin to melt into a soft mass, about 20 minutes.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups of wine and let it bubble away for a minute, then tuck chicken pieces among onions; sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low, and cover pan.
4. Cook, turning chicken pieces once or twice, for 40 to 60 minutes, or until chicken is very tender (the meat on the drumsticks will begin to loosen from the bone). If dish appears to be drying out, add remaining wine.
5. Serve chicken with crusty bread or white rice or another grain, spooning the onions and their liquid over all.

-- While the onions are cooking, brown the chicken by placing it, skin side up, in a 500-degree oven for about 20 minutes. When you add the chicken to the onions, be sure to include some of its juice.
-- Tuck a couple of bay leaves or a few sprigs of thyme in among the onions, after they've begun to soften. A small grating of nutmeg is also good.
-- Sauté about 1/4 pound of bacon or salt pork cut into 1/2-inch chunks before adding the onions.
-- Cook about 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms (or an ounce or two of dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted) along with the onions.
-- Cook 1 tablespoon or more of chopped garlic along with the onions.
-- After cooking, puree the onions and their liquid in a blender for a cream-like sauce.

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