About this recipe:This lighter version of the great French classic, chicken in red wine sauce, is lower in fat and includes more vegetables. It just needs some crusty, rustic-style bread and perhaps a light green salad. The dish is better if made a full day ahead so the flavours can mature.
8 large skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 700g in total
8 thin slices pancetta or lean, thinly cut streaky bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large red onion, halved and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 fennel bulb or 3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
3–4 sprigs of fresh thyme
350ml red wine
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
2 tbsp brandy (optional)
450ml chicken or vegetable stock
8 baby onions or small shallots
250g button chestnut mushrooms
chopped fresh parsley
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Trim any excess fat from the thighs, then wrap each one in a thin rasher of pancetta or bacon. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the chicken, join-side down, and brown for 2–3 minutes. Turn to brown the other side, then remove to a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the casserole and gently fry the garlic, onion, carrots, fennel or celery and turnip, stirring a couple of times, until softened. If you need to moisten, add 2–3 tbsp of water, not extra oil.
Add the herbs, red wine, redcurrant jelly and brandy, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, blanch the baby onions in boiling water for 2 minutes, then cool and peel. Add to the casserole with the chicken thighs and season to taste. Cover and cook very gently for about 30 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, stir well and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Use large chunks of pork or veal instead of the chicken and omit the pancetta or bacon.