Braised Chicken with Potatoes, Spinach and Pine Nuts
If you’ve spent decades cooking like I have, you’re probably seeking some inspiration, something to get you fired up to head into the kitchen and start cooking. In fact, that’s probably why you’re here reading this blog post. Even though I’m a food blogger, a recipe developer, and a cooking teacher, I also need some inspiration. Lately, I’ve been looking to The NY Times for ideas. I get the daily cooking newsletter and if something piques my interest, I print the recipe. That pile grows on my desk until I have time – say a snowy weekend, when my partner is at work and I’m home alone – to attempt some of the dishes.The key to braising chicken this way is to get the skin nice and golden brown first, so don’t skip that step. Even if you end up removing the skin when you eat it (like I do as I’m not crazy about the texture after the braise), this step will add plenty of flavor. I made very few changes to the original recipe posted on The NY Times site – I cut up a whole chicken instead of using just thighs, subbed white wine vinegar for sherry vinegar because I didn’t have any, used a russet potato instead of baby potatoes, subbed spinach for kale, and omitted the butter and parsley at the end. (Confession: I actually forgot those two things, but the recipe was great without them.) Remember, recipes are just a starting point, and should always be tweaked to your liking. We loved this recipe – it will be in our rotation for sure!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 whole chicken, cut into parts, skin left on
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- ¾ cup dry white wine (I used fume blanc)
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3-4 large fresh bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large russet potato (about 1 pound), scrubbed and cubed (I left the skin on)
- Chicken stock
- 2-3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper them place skin side down in the hot oil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the skin is nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Add the onion, celery and garlic to the pot and saute until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with he wine and vinegar, then add the pine nuts, bay leaves and cinnamon. Stir everything together, then nestle the chicken pieces back into the pot, skin side up.
- Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and enough chicken stock just to cover the potatoes. Cover, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cover for a couple of minutes to help the spinach will slightly, then serve directly from the Dutch oven.