Monday, May 16, 2011

Impromptu chicken braise with white wine and preserved lemon

Feel free to not forget your chicken in the oven and remember to turn it over occasionally.

I have a lot of chicken and I have to cook it before it goes bad: Ready, go!

Last week the sous-chef taught me how to break down a chicken and subsequently he and I went to Sur La Table and picked out my first boning knife, Wusthof Ikon.  At the moment we have a fair amount of chickens to break down for a small restaurant.  We get shipments in two to three times a week, using them for a daily chicken stock and for one of the main entrées on the menu -  chicken cooked sous-vide and then deep fried.  I can't wait to expand my role as kitchen prep to occasional butcher and to continue honing my skills.  Butchery is definitely one of those must-have skills to succeed in the industry and it simultaneously makes you feel a little bit hardcore.  Though today, after buying three whole chickens at the market primed to practice what I'd been shown - I realized that I couldn't find the wishbone and I had forgotten how to dislocate the shoulder.  Nevertheless I managed  to get the breast, legs, and thighs off the chicken with a small to medium amount of waste.  Nothing quite like the bare carcass the sous-chef demonstrated to me, but I assume it will only get better from here.  All this practice is leaving me with quite a bit of chicken on my hands.  Tonight I pan fried some shnitzl, a childhood favorite, and threw an impromptu braise together for the dark meat which turned out prettttty tasty and was quite simple.  Feel free to try this at home and add anything that might make it tastier - vary up the citrus, add another spice, etc.

dark meat
1/4 preserved lemon, roughly chopped
a couple cups of chicken stock
a miniature bottle of white wine
1/4 onion
1 bay leaf
a shake of chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, whole

Sear the chicken skin side down in a pan until the skin is golden and a little crisp; turn over and sear the other side a little less.  Remove the chicken and put it in a casserole.  Add the onions to the chicken grease left in the pan to sweat.  Add salt, pepper, garlic, preserved lemon, and a shake of chili flakes and sautée a little.  Deglaze the pan with white wine and add the chicken stock.  Pour the liquid and onions over the chicken to just cover or almost cover it.  Add the bay leaf and bake around 325 for 4 hours or so, turning the chicken occasionally.