CHICKEN IN RED WINE

Another installment in my Kitchen Comfort series, this easy Sunday supper dish was inspired by another trip through my mom’s battered copy of A Taste of Texas. That’s the 1949 Neiman Marcus book that I love for blend of simplicity and sophistication. It’s one of the few books of its period that actually offers detailed instruction instead of leaving the cook to handle a fair amount of guesswork. In making this, though, I wanted more of a mirepoix base (there were no carrots in the original), and greater depth overall. To that end, I made it more of a coq au vin recipe, starting with browned, diced bacon and adding some cognac to the process. Traditionally, you’d serve this over egg noodles or rice. In our house, we’re lucky that my husband Marshall is a passionate baker whose scratch sourdough is always on hand. This week, he baked the bread with lots of rosemary from our garden; I buttered and toasted a few planks and served the chicken and mushrooms in the lush red wine sauce over the crusty bread. Let’s be honest — it was sublime.

Serves 3 to 4

4 slices bacon, diced

4 chicken breasts or large thighs

½ cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 cup celery hearts, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup cognac or brandy

1 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups button or shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, smashed

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Chopped scallions, for garnish

Toasted sourdough or noodles or rice, for serving

In a Dutch oven, brown bacon till crisp. Drain on paper towels; set aside.

Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

In bacon drippings, over medium heat, brown chicken for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Heat oven to 250 degrees.

Still using the bacon drippings, saute onions, celery hearts, and carrots until just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes, over medium heat. Add chicken broth and brandy to the vegetables, stirring until heated through. Add chicken to pan, pour in red wine, and stir. Transfer Dutch oven, covered, to oven for 45 minutes.

In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and saute mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring, just until tender. Transfer mushrooms, garlic, and thyme to Dutch oven, stirring. Increase heat to 275 degrees and bake another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Ladle chicken, vegetables, and sauce over toasted sourdough, noodles or rice in wide, shallow bowls and garnish with chop

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