Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wine-Baked Chicken with Marjoram

I was getting ready to make Poulet au Porto, a Julia Child dish I've been planning, but my whole chicken wasn't quite thawed yet. I didn't feel comfortable thawing a whole chicken in the microwave, but chicken thighs are another story! I wanted something similar to Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar or Zesty Braised Chicken with Lemon and know, some sort of Chicken with a Fabulous Sauce.

While the chicken thighs were thawing in the microwave and Number One was inviting CG to dinner, I happened upon this recipe, from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2007. I had everything but heavy cream, so I decided to substitute evaporated milk. Why not. And I used dried marjoram instead of chopped. The recipe calls for chicken legs, but we had thighs. I used about 12 thighs I believe, and after serving 5 people we have leftovers!

The recipe is fairly easy to accomplish, and extremely delicious, with crispy-skinned chicken and a delicately flavored sauce. If you are looking for chicken with a fabulous sauce, I dare say you've come to the right place!

Wine-Baked Chicken with Marjoram--Marcia Kiesel
Active: 20 minutes Total: 1 hour 35 minutes 4 servings
Wine: Fruity, low-oak Chardonnay

The creamy, rich sauce for this crisp-skinned chicken is deliciously balanced by pungent marjoram.

2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf (I used two)
6 whole chicken legs (you will want more than this: I used about 12 thighs)
2 cups dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 tablespoons chopped marjoram (I used about 1 tablespoon dried), plus 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves, for garnish (I didn't have these)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spread the sliced shallots and bay leaf in a 14-by-12-inch baking dish or roasting pan. Arrange the chicken in the pan, skin side up, and pour the dry white wine over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

2. Transfer the chicken legs to a heatproof platter. Discard the bay leaf. Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the pan juices and boil until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a large glass measuring cup and let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, reheat the chicken in the oven, about 5 minutes.

4. Whisk the butter into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thoroughly blended. Season the sauce with salt and stir in the chopped marjoram. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with the marjoram leaves and serve right away.

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