Old Tyme Pot-Stewed Chicken

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 23, 2011 at 1:34 PM

 

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3
jumbo yellow onions, sliced into rings
2
small fryer chickens, skinned and cut into pieces
2 tsp.
salt
2 tsp.
coarse-ground black pepper
2 tsp.
Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning
6
cloves garlic, minced
2
whole bay leaves
¼ cup
dry sherry or Madeira wine


The first thing you want to do is take a heavy aluminum or cast iron Dutch oven and heat the olive oil to about 350 degrees—right to where it’s sizzling pretty good. Then drop in all the onion slices and while continually stirring, cook them until they caramelize (which means they turn a rich golden brown). this should take you a good 8 to 10 minutes. In the meantime, while the onions are cooking, direct your attention to the chicken and liberally sprinkle the pieces with salt, pepper, and poultry season. Be sure to take a little extra time and rub the spices into the meat with both hands.

When the onions are cooked, take a slotted spoon, remove them from the pot, and set them aside for a while (but leave the onion-flavored olive oil in the pot because you’re going to use it to brown the chicken pieces). Note that "the browning" needs to be done hot, because you want to sear the meat and seal in all the juices. The best way to accomplish that is to do a few pieces at a time so that the parts don’t crowd together and cause the temperature in the pot to drop so low you "render" instead of "sear" the chicken. Of course, as each piece of browned, remove it from the Dutch oven and temporarily set it aside on a platter.

Then, when all the chicken pieces have been done, place them back into the pot, cover them with the onions you caramelized earlier, stir in the minced garlic, drop in the bay leaves, and splash on the wine. Now put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the chicken simmer and all the flavors develop. After an hour or so, the chicken should be "fall-off-the-bone-tender" and ready to eat.

One little note here: Don’t be concerned about there being no "liquid" in the pot—you don’t need any. The chicken and onion will make their own. And once you reduce the fire and set the lid in place, don’t go peeking in the pot every 10 minutes. The dish will be just fine—I promise it won’t burn.

Finally, when the allotted cooking time is up, all you do to present the dish is take a pair of tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and place them on a serving platter. Then, take some gravy flour or a couple tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with a little water or white wine and stir it into the pan drippings over a medium high heat. In about 5 minutes or so the natural juices will thicken the rich and robust chicken gravy that you liberally ladle over the platter of chicken. So do I have to tell you that this chicken recipe can be served with rice, pasta, grits, polenta, over toast points, or even open-face on hot French bread? Of course, I don’t! It’s so good, it doesn’t need any accompaniment! Except for maybe a cold, crisp, green salad! And maybe a chilled glass of wine.

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