|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 55g||71%|
|Saturated Fat 16g||78%|
|Total Carbohydrate 8g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||15%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
If you are looking for the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it chicken dish, braising is your answer. Braising is a cooking method that turns tough meats tender and succulent by baking or simmering meat in a little liquid. The key to success is low and slow—a low flame or not-too-hot oven and an hour or more of your time.
For this recipe, you can buy prepackaged chicken that's already cut up, but make sure the backbone is in there (sometimes it isn't). The back will add lots of flavor to the broth and the chicken itself. Most butchers will cut up a whole chicken if you ask, and you can request they include the backbone.
Once you assemble all of your ingredients and put the chicken in the oven, you can relax or prepare the rest of your meal while your main dish bakes. Braised chicken is delicious with starchy sides such as rice or mashed potatoes. A green vegetable on the side is nice, too, such as broccoli.
1 (4- to 5- pound) whole chicken, cut up, including the backbone
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, about 1/4 pound, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped leek, white and light green parts
4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock, or water
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
Gather the ingredients and heat the oven to 300 F.
Dry the chicken well with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until it's crispy and the fat has rendered out. Remove and set aside.
Add 1 breast (skin-side down), 1 thigh (skin-side down), 1 drumstick, and 1 wing. Brown the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes, then remove to a platter and repeat with the other 4 pieces. Finally, brown the backbone, skin-side down, and remove.
Add the onion, leek, and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and boil, scraping any roasted bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste.
Return the chicken and bacon to the pot. Add the chicken stock or water. Season with salt (if needed). Add the rosemary and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for one hour, or until an instant-read thermometer registers at least 165 F. Remove the lid and let the chicken cool in the pot for 15 minutes before serving.
Should braising liquid cover the meat?
If the meat is covered by liquid, you'd be poaching the chicken instead of braising it. Instead, you need enough liquid so that the meat is surrounded but not submerged; think of it as barely skimming the meat's surface. As your braise, the liquid will reduce, resulting in a sauce with a highly concentrated flavor.
While we recommend braising chicken in chicken stock, you can use water instead. The chicken will still be flavorful and you'll end up with a beautiful chicken stock that you can use for other recipes (like braising another chicken). Just make sure you season the water with enough kosher salt that you can taste it.
How to Store and Freeze Braised Chicken
Braised chicken will keep well covered in the refrigerator for three to five days. Reheat in the Dutch oven or a small saucepan over medium-low heat, adding a little more liquid if need be, until it's hot.
Freeze leftover braised chicken in zip-close bags or containers that will accommodate the braising liquid, too.