OVEN-BRAISED CHICKEN WITH LEEKS AND DILL
6 to 8 servings; enough for a party of 4
Watch the cooking time carefully; 45 to 50 minutes if you're using chicken thighs, and 35 minutes for white meat. For extra insurance, prepare the dish the day before.
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces, preferably thighs (may substitute chicken breasts)
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup white wine
1/2 pound leeks, white and tender green parts only, well-cleaned, sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
6 sprigs fresh dill plus 1 tablespoon chopped dill (for garnish)
About 2 cups chicken broth
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste. Place as many chicken pieces in the pan as will fit comfortably. Cook the pieces until lightly browned, then turn and brown the other side. It will take 2 to 3 minutes per side; adjust the heat as necessary to keep the pan hot but do not allow the oil to smoke. After the pieces have browned, transfer to a large roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken adding more oil if needed.
Add the wine to the saucepan and use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Let the wine cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until it has reduced by half. Pour the wine and scraped-up bits over the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Let it heat up, then add the leeks. Cook the leeks, stirring every minute or so, until softened and just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Distribute the cooked leeks over the chicken pieces in the roasting pan.
Lay the dill sprigs over the chicken and add enough broth to come about halfway up the sides of the chicken pieces. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake.
After 35 minutes, carefully remove the foil and check for doneness by cutting into one of the pieces. At this point the white meat pieces, if using, will probably be done. Thighs and legs will probably need an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked through and tender, remove the pan from the oven and discard the foil. (If you're making it ahead, allow the chicken and its broth to cool, then refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered loosely with foil, for 30 to 40 minutes before continuing with the next step.)
Discard the dill sprigs. Transfer the chicken pieces and the leeks to a large, shallow serving bowl or deep dish. Pour the cooking liquid into a pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring the broth to a boil and let it reduce by one-third to one-half, which will take 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cream. Taste and add more cream and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the enriched broth over the chicken. Sprinkle the chopped dill over the dish and serve.
Per serving (based on 8): 525 calories, 32 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 41 g fat, 22 mg cholesterol, 4 g saturated fat, 174 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber
Recipe tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick; e-mail questions to email@example.com