…parsnips!! Yes, parsnips! Who would have thunk it? This dish, in the newest October Food and Wine magazine, appealed to me. I had parsnips and I had chicken thighs. I always have white wine that can be used up. If not that, use dry vermouth and feel very French. And the rest of the recipe I just improvised and changed.
Yesterday, my day was challenging. Our refrigerator and freezer went kaput in the middle of the night and I had to work from home while waiting for the repair men to come. Meanwhile I had the bright idea to call the super and ask if there were any empty apartments that had a refrigerator and could I please store all my food there? Yes, there was one on the third floor. Bingo! So here I am, hauling bags of food down there and then I’m trying to work at our kitchen counter and our darn refrigerator keeps on beeping to tell me that the temperature is below where it should be. Duhhh!!! Do you know how annoying that is?
Meanwhile, I’m dealing with two very inexperienced clients and I am frustrated. After the repair guys finally fix the refrigerator, I had to go to the Bronx for a meeting with the new board president at the school I volunteer at and I am not in a pretty mood. I tell them what I really think about their name at this meeting and leave. I am nice about it but firm.
I get back home and decide I need to sweat all this meanness out so I go to the gym and ride a bike for over 5 miles and come back up to cook this dinner which was so delicious and creamy dreamy that I am now a nice person again.
You see how food has the ability to comfort and soothe, curing all that ails you? When you cook with love, you only magnify that tenet.
Parsnips are in season now. Buy only fresh young ones — no big fat woody ones allowed! This really is a must-make dish. We served a Vouvray and some steamed Jasmine rice with this and all was well and back to normal in our household!
CHENIN BLANC BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH PARSNIPS AND SAGE
– serves 4
2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 tbs.extra-virgin olive oil
8 medium chicken thighs, with bones and skin
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large shallots, peeled and quartered
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 3″ lengths and then quartered or halved
1 large sage sprig with numerous leaves
1 cup Chenin Blanc or other dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, preferably homemade
Chopped fresh sage leaves and chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with the flour, tapping off the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet skin side down and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the shallots, parsnips and sage sprig to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken skin side up in the skillet, tucking it between the parsnips. Transfer the skillet to the middle rack of the oven and braise the chicken uncovered for about 25 minutes, until cooked through.
Turn the broiler on. Broil the chicken for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Return the skillet to high heat and boil until the sauce is thickened, 3 minutes. Discard the sage sprig, if you like. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to bowls, garnish with chopped sage leaves and chives and serve with steamed Jasmine rice.
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