French-Style Chicken in Wine

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• 12 shallots or pear onions
• 1-1/2 tbsp (20 ml) garlic-flavoured olive oil
• 2 oz (60 g) back bacon, cut into thin strips
• 12 cremini or white mushrooms
• 4 chicken pieces, such as breast halves
• Several sprigs parsley, stems bruised
• Several sprigs fresh thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock
• 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) full-bodied red wine, such as shiraz
• 2 carrots, cut into chunks
• Pinch sugar
• 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch
• Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
• Chopped parsley

1. Put shallots or onions in heatproof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave 30 seconds, then drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté, stirring often, until crisp, 3 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add shallots to Dutch oven and sauté until brown all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

4. Add mushrooms to Dutch oven, with remaining 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) oil, if needed, and sauté until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Return half of bacon and shallots to Dutch oven. Place chicken pieces on top and sprinkle with remaining bacon and shallots. Tie herbs into bouquet garni and add to Dutch oven with stock and wine. Season generously with pepper.

6. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Add carrots and continue simmering over low heat until chicken is cooked tender and juices run clear when pierced, and carrots are fork-tender.

7. Remove chicken and arrange on warm serving platter. Strain liquid into pot. Add bacon, mushrooms, shallots, and carrots to chicken and keep warm.

8 Put bouquet garni back in strained liquid, add sugar and bring to boil. Boil until sauce is reduced to about 1-1/2 cups (375 ml). Meanwhile, mix cornstarch with a little water until smooth paste forms. Stir into sauce and simmer until thicker. Adjust seasoning to taste and discard bouquet garni. Spoon sauce over chicken and vegetables and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4

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