Braised Chicken Legs With Wild Mushrooms
A good roasted chicken is a simple pleasure, but a braised chicken dish is always more interesting. Here, dried wild mushrooms, smoked bacon and red wine perfume the sauce to give these chicken legs depth and character, with a flavor nearly similar to a game bird. Using turkey broth makes this braise even more heady. For a quick, concentrated broth, simmer 2 pounds of meaty turkey wings with 6 cups water for about an hour. Finding a dried wild mushroom is not like hunting for its fresh counterpart in the forest. Most Italian delis and nearly all supermarkets sell little packets of dried wild mushrooms.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1ounce dried porcini
- 1ounce dried morels
- 6large chicken legs (about 4 pounds)
- Salt and pepper
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 2cups finely diced onion
- 3ounces thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch wide
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 2garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of cayenne
- 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1cup red wine
- 4cups turkey or chicken broth
- 1bay leaf
- 1large thyme sprig
- 1 ½pounds small yellow-fleshed potatoes
- 3tablespoons chopped parsley
Step 1Rinse porcini with warm water (they are often sandy), then place in a small bowl, cover with hot water and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, soak the morels in hot water.
Step 2Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken legs on a baking sheet in one layer. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove and set aside. Turn oven to 350 degrees.
Step 3Meanwhile, make the sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to color.
Step 4Add bacon and tomato paste, stir to incorporate with onions, and cook for about 1 minute, then stir in garlic and cayenne. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Add wine and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in turkey broth and bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken slightly. Add bay leaf and thyme sprig. Drain porcini and morels and add to sauce.
Step 5Submerge browned chicken legs in sauce and bring to a brisk simmer. Cover and transfer pot to oven. Bake for about 1 hour, until chicken is tender. Remove from oven and keep covered.
Step 6While chicken bakes, make the potatoes: Put potatoes in a saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a brisk simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Step 7Drain potatoes and let cool. Peel potatoes with a paring knife and return to saucepan. (Alternatively, potatoes may be peeled before cooking, or you may opt to leave skins on.) Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer over high heat to warm potatoes through, then set aside, covered.
Step 8To serve, divide legs among 6 warm plates. Spoon sauce and mushrooms over each serving. Sprinkle parsley over potatoes and place a few potatoes on each plate. Transfer remaining potatoes and buttery juices to a serving dish. Serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat if desired.