This wonderful recipe is adapted from Chef Frank Stitt’s excellent cookbook, Southern Table. The warming dish is Chef Stitt’s version of coq au vin, made with Madeira instead of red wine, served over puréed root vegetables and topped with crispy bits of country ham. We think it’s the perfect dish for rainy fall weather.
Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira
For the Autumn Vegetable Puree:
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled, trimmed and cut ino small chunks
1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 3 to 4 lbs, rinsed and cut into serving pieces
Salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup medium-dry Madeira
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 to 3 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 slices country ham, thin slices, cut into thin julienne strips
Glazed Root Vegetables, if desired
1. In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and sear the pieces on all sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a rack set over a baking sheet and set aside.
2. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the Madeira and white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce by three-quarters. Add the broth, thyme, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
3. Place the chicken in a casserole and pour the simmering broth over it. Cover the chicken with parchment paper, then cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and braise in the oven until tender, about 15 minutes for the breast and 45 to 55 minutes for the dark meat. Remove the pieces as they are done and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet.
4. Strain the braising liquid into a large saucepan and set the pan over medium-high heat, half on and half off the burner so you can easily skim off the fat as it rises to the cooler side of the pan. Reduce by about half, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter bit by bit, swirling it into the sauce. Add the chicken to the pan and heat through.
5. Spoon the vegetable purée onto individual plates. Arrange the chicken next to the purée and then the glazed vegetables (if serving) alongside. Garnish with the little strips of country ham.