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French-Style Braised Chicken

French-Style Braised Chicken

The mystique of French cuisine can be daunting, but it’s just rustic farmer food at heart – like this simple, beautiful braised chicken. This recipe, using our fragrant, herbal Herbes de Provence Seasoning, will help your next chicken dinner feel a little bit fancier. Remember: French food is just simple ingredients coaxed into complex flavor with good technique, and this detailed recipe shows you how to do just that.

Ingredients

For: 6
Preparation: 15 min
Cooking: 50 min
Ready in: 1 h 40 min

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425°. Prep all ingredients and have them handy before starting.
  2. Start with a clean bird and use paper towels to dry the skin as best you can. Use kitchen shears to carefully 'spatchcock' the chicken by removing the backbone. Starting at the tail, use the shears to cut up one side of the backbone and then down the other side. Don't worry about how it looks - it won't matter in the end. Once completed, this should allow the back of the chicken to open like a book. Do not discard the backbone. It will roast with the chicken and be an excellent addition to our homemade chicken stock recipe later.
  3. Flip the bird over so that the back is open toward the table and the breast and legs are facing you. Use the heel of your hand to press down heavily on the breast to flatten the chicken as much as possible. Using 1 Tbsp total, season both sides generously with kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. In a large, oven-safe dish (cast iron or enameled cast iron works best, but a non-stick roasting pan will do, if needed), heat butter and oil together over medium-high heat. Once bubbling subsides, lay chicken - skin side down - into hot oil. Allow to cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Use tongs to carefully peak at the skin side - it should be golden brown where it was touching the pan. If it doesn't release easily, do not force it, and continue cooking and checking again at 1 minute increments. Once skin is crispy-brown, turn heat to low and use tongs to carefully remove the bird to a platter, skin-side-up. This chicken is still far from cooked, so be sure to use good food safety practices.
  5. Return heat to medium-high and add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once translucent and aromatic, add seasoning. Roll and crush the seasoning between your fingers while adding to release the fragrant, floral oils. Reduce heat to prevent a flare-up, and carefully add sherry or white wine. Use this liquid to 'deglaze' the pan - scraping any brown bits of fond from the bottom.
  6. Carefully add 1 cup of stock/broth to the pan and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for 1 minute and add lemon slices. Turn off the heat and return chicken to the pan, skin-side-up (return the backbone here, too!). Add more stock/broth as needed to fill the pan to almost half full. The chicken should only be partially submerged with the crispy skin exposed.
  7. Place entire pan into hot oven and set a timer for 25 minutes. When time is up, check for browning and rotate pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When time is up, carefully remove pan from oven and use an internal thermometer to check the temperature of one of the chicken thighs. It should read 165° or slightly above. If not, return pan to oven and cook for another 10 minutes. If it does, leave chicken to rest in pan for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for another 10 minutes (set aside and refrigerate the backbone until ready to make stock). Meanwhile, use a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to strain all solids from cooking liquid. Return cooking liquid to low heat and simmer until thickened and silky.
  9. Use a sharp knife to carve chicken starting with removing legs and wings. Then slice down the center bone to remove each breast and slice against the grain. Arrange chicken pieces on a serving platter with rich, aromatic pan juices spooned over the top. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Notes

Be sure to pull any remaining chicken meat off the bones to save for our Chicken Salad recipe to follow. Save any and all bones and chicken pieces in fridge or freezer for making chicken stock.

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