Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sunday Chef: Skillet-Braised Chicken Bundles

-Large Carrot (cut in chunks)
-Large Celery Stalk (cut in chunks)
-Medium Onion (cut in chunks)
-10 fresh sage leaves
-2 garlic cloves
-5 tbsp olive oil
-2 tsp salt
-2.5 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
-6 strips of bacon
-2 cups dry white wine
-3 cups canned plum tomatoes (preferable san marzano)
-2/3 tbsp parmigiano reggiano

1. Mince the onion, carrot, celery, 4 sage leaves, and garlic to make pestata.  Cook with pestata in 2 tbsp of oil until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
2. Trim chicken thighs of fat, place plastic wrap on top and pound with mallet to flatten.  Sprinkle with salt
3. Spread a tbsp of pestata on each thigh.  Fold thighs into thirds (like a letter) and wrap with a piece of bacon long way around each bundle.  Place toothpick through bacon and chicken to hold it together.
4. Pour 3 tbsp of olive oil into the big skillet.  Put chicken bundles in pan.  Turn when lightly caramelized.  Once they are brown, drop the remaining pestata in between the bundles.
5. When everything is sizzling, pour in the wine and bring to bubbling simmer.  Cook until wine has reduced by half.  Pour crushed tomatoes and juices all over the bundles.  Mix the sauce.
6.  Cover the pan, adjust the heat to keep simmer steady, and cook for 25-30 minutes.
7. Finish with grated cheese.

Delicious!  This is a time consuming dish, however the result is worth it.  The chicken is tender, the sauce is flavorful, and the texture is varied.  I served this with a mashed potato, but many side dishes would go well with this main dish.  This recipe was taken from Lidia Bastianich's cookbook.  Highly recommended!

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