Chicken Grand-Mère Francine
Dinex Group, NYC
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 cipollini or pearl onions, peeled and trimmed
- 4 shallots, peeled and trimmed
- 2 heads garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 8 small marble or German butterball potatoes
- 2 small celery roots, peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
- 2 ounces slab bacon, cut into short, thin strips
- 8 Trumpet Royale mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
- 2 cups homemade unsalted chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Working over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof sauté pan or skillet (choose one with high-sides and a cover). Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper, slip them into the pan, and cook until they are well browned on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Take your time—you want a nice, deep color and you also want to cook the chickens three-quarters through at this point. When the chicken is deeply golden, transfer it to a platter and keep it in a warm place while you work on the vegetables.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking fat from the pan. Lower the heat to medium, add the butter, the onions, shallots, garlic and thyme and cook and stir just until the vegetables start to take on a little color, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, celery root, and bacon and cook 1 to 2 minutes, just to start rendering the bacon fat. Cover the pan and cook another 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and return the chicken to the pan. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, and slide the pan into the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Spoon everything onto a warm serving platter or into an attractive casserole.
To serve: bring the chicken to the table, with plenty of pieces of crusty baguette to sop up the sauce and spread with the soft, caramely garlic that is easily squeezed out of its skin.