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Wine and Vermouth Braised Chicken

By 7:23 AM , , , ,

My name is The Husband, and I'm a braisaholic.  I'm a functioning braisaholic throughout the warm months, but at the first frost, I hear voices saying "braise something".  The typical object of my culinary desire is the standards - short ribs or country style pork ribs.  So what's a braiser to do in order to branch out?

For me the thought of a melt in your mouth, fall apart chicken imparts visions of a Paris bistro.  But The Wife is no fan of thighs or drumsticks, and white meat is too lean for a braise, and becomes dry and tough.

"What to do," I pondered, then the Aha moment struck.  I quartered the chicken, braised the dark meat for about 2 hours and added the breast quarters in for the last thirty minutes.  They dark meat melted on the fork, and the white meat cooked through, but didn't cook long enough to dry out.  We were both happy - beyond happy, actually.
The braising liquid was a leap of faith for me.  I have another confession - I'm scared of vermouth.  I like my martinis very dry - Churchillesque if you will - you could simply whisper "vermouth" over the glass and add vodka and I'm happy.  But I've often seen it in recipes, so I jumped in - and I would recommend you do the same.  It tastes better in cooking that it does in this blogger's dry martini.
All in all, this was a very satisfying meal - just what we were looking for on the first cold weekend of the year.

1 whole fryer chicken, quartered
Flour for dredging
Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
2 Bulbs of Garlic (yes bulbs) - sliced in half, cutting all the cloves in half
1 Lemon
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Dry Vermouth
1/2 Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon dried Rosemary
1 Tablespoon dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon dried Tarragon
Preheat your oven to 250.
Over medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large dutch oven.  While you oil is heating up, salt and pepper your leg quarters and dredge in flour.  Leave the breast quarters in the fridge for now.
Brown only your chicken leg quarters in the oil - about 3 minutes per side, and set aside.

Add your onions and garlic bulbs, adding more olive oil if necessary.  Stir and cook until onions are translucent - about 3-4 minutes.

Slice your lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into the pan, and drop the lemon halves in as well. Add your Broth, Vermouth and Wine as well as your herbs and stir.  Bring to a simmer.

Place your leg quarters in the braise, drop in a bay leaf and place in the oven.

Let this mixture braise for two hours.

You'll want to add your breast quarters for the last 30 minutes, so prepare them as you did the leg quarters (salt/pepper, dredge and sear) and drop them in.

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