Braised food

Braised chicken in wine, mushrooms and leeks

WWith the seemingly endless supply of convenient weeknight chicken recipes, it can be easy to forget that once chicken was considered a delicacy.

Flipping through my copy of The Escoffier cookbook, I was struck by the opulence attached to the bird. It has featured in dozens of recipes, coated in puff pastry, topped with cream, topped with aged ham leaves, stuffed with truffle, drizzled with Madeira. There was no dinner on the set in sight.

And all of these recipes gave me exactly the inspiration I needed to create a creamy wine-braised chicken dish that’s luxurious enough for a holiday meal, but not much more complicated than I would on a given Tuesday. .

The first thing is to find really good chicken. If you can get it at a farmers market, even better. Otherwise, look for air-chilled, antibiotic-free and preferably organic chicken at the supermarket. It will be more expensive than a standard bird, but eating chicken is even less of a folly than buying a lot of other classic, meaty vacation options.

Then there are the mushrooms in the recipe, which can be as extravagant as you want. Creminis, shiitakes and white buttons will work perfectly, although if you go all out, specialty mushrooms like king, hen of the woods and chanterelles add an even more intense flavor. Or use a combination: a few earthy black trumpets will go far in the pot.

You will also need some wine for the sauce. The wisdom of communal cooking dictates that you add a touch of the bottle you plan to drink at dinner. But I usually use the wine that’s left over from dinner the night before or two. When sealed and stored in the fridge, leftover wine is great for cooking and you can use any (dry) variety for this adaptable coals. It means white, red, rosé or even a sparkling or orange wine, if that’s what you have.

Like all embers, this one gets better after sitting all night. Prepare it until the moment you incorporate the crème fraîche, then place it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Heat it over low heat on the stove or in an oven at 180 ° C for 20 to 30 minutes. Then add the crème fraîche and the garnishes.

Serve it with crusty bread, polenta, rice, or a bunch of buttery noodles, with more crème fraîche on the side for maximum richness – and maximum joy.

Braised chicken in wine, mushrooms and leeks

(Getty / iStock)

Through: Mélissa Clark

Serves: 4

Total time: 1 hour


1.6 kg of chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or use 1.6 kg of bone-in chicken pieces)

2 teaspoons of salt, more if needed

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more if needed

4 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more as needed

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

100g mushrooms, thinly sliced ​​(preferably specialty mushrooms, such as king, hen of the woods, chanterelles or black trumpet, or a combination)

2 large leeks, halved and thinly sliced ​​into half moons (use white and light green parts)

2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary

180 ml dry white wine (or use a dry red or rosé)

60g crème fraîche, more to serve if you wish

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving

A handful of finely chopped fresh parsley, tender leaves and stems, to taste


1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season everything with 1½ teaspoons of salt and black pepper. Grate finely, press or slice 2 cloves of garlic. Reserve half of the grated garlic to finish the dish. Rub the rest on the chicken pieces. Reserve the chicken while the other ingredients are prepared.

2. In a casserole dish over medium-high heat, combine 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter. When the butter melts, add the chicken in batches and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If the pan dries up, add a little more oil as needed. Transfer the golden chicken to a plate.

3. Add the remaining tablespoon of each oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and cook without disturbing them until they are nicely browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir and cook for another 1 minute.

4. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the sliced ​​garlic, leeks and a big pinch of salt and pepper each. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender and golden, 7 minutes. Add the rosemary and wine to the pot and simmer, scraping up the golden bits, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 1 minute.

5. Nestle the chicken, skin side up, in the pan and pour the accumulated juices onto the plate. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes.

6. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep it warm. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the pot. If the sauce seems thin, lower the heat to medium-high and simmer until it thickens slightly, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rest of the grated garlic, crème fraîche, chives and lemon zest. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the parsley, more lemon zest and a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired, and serve.

© The New York Times