I have to admit that I love it when the temperature starts to dip down into the 30s. When I get home from work I put on my "play clothes," as Vivi calls them—an old wool sweater, a pair of jeans, and slippers—and flip through the recipe files for a quick and easy stew or braise. I found a Mark Bittman recipe for chicken and Riesling—coq au vin but with white wine. It seemed so easy to make: cook down some onions in oil, add chicken pieces, wine, season and cook for an hour. Fred thought it sounded like boiled chicken, so I adapted it by browning the chicken in oil first, then sauteing the onions with some carrots, garlic and little fresh thyme. Added the wine and cooked it down a little, returned the chicken and juices to the pot and cooked it for 40 minutes. I swirled a pat of butter through right before pouring it over egg noodles. Perfection. And the best part: Vivi even tried a little and didn't say she didn't like it. I take that as a complement.
Here's the "recipe":
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
(I got mine from Fleischer's in Kingston, NY. I think they were the best thighs I've ever eaten!)
1 medium onion sliced
1 medium carrot sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 clove of garlic
2 cups Riesling
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper.
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a glug of olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot. Brown chicken in oil, about three minutes per side, or until browned a little.
3. Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Saute onion and carrot for about five minutes. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or two.
4. Add the wine and cook for about three minutes.
5. Return the chicken to pot, give it a swirl, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
6. Stir the pat of butter through the sauce and pour over noodles or rice.
This type of dish is really just a matter of putting a piece of meat or chicken in a pot with some aromatics and a liquid in a pot. Play with what you have in the fridge (I had some mushrooms, so I threw those in for the last three minutes) and see what comes of it. You really can't go wrong.