Chicken and fall vegetables make a wonderfully flavorful stew. This dish from chef Bonnie Moore was inspired by classic French coq au vin, but the simple preparation (it can be finished in a slow cooker; see VARIATION, below) is decidedly American, and local apple cider adds a distinct Virginia flavor.
Serve piping hot by itself or over wide egg noodles, mashed potatoes or polenta.
Make Ahead: The stew tastes better after a day's refrigeration. It can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days; reheat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.
- 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 1/4 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces good-quality, thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 1 large rib celery, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 medium turnip or rutabaga, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 thyme sprig (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup canned, no-salt-added chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup hand-pressed, local apple cider
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the bacon in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat until the fat begins to render. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. The pot should be hot enough to brown both the bacon and the chicken without burning them. Transfer the chicken and bacon to a platter.
Reduce the heat to medium. Quickly add the onion, celery, carrots and turnip or rutabaga. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes, then increase the heat to brown the vegetables lightly.
Return the chicken and bacon to the pot. Add the red wine, thyme and bay leaf; cook for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat to keep the liquid barely bubbling around the edges of the pot.
Add the tomatoes and cider. Once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, cover and cook for about 1 1/4 hours or until the chicken is completely tender and falling off the bone; do not let it boil rapidly. Discard the bay leaf before serving or storing.
VARIATION: To finish the dish in a slow cooker, transfer the mixture to the slow cooker just before the tomatoes, cider, chicken and bacon are added. Then add all the remaining ingredients and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours or until the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender.
From Bonnie Moore, chef in residence of Willowsford in Loudoun County.
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
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