White Wine Braised Chicken with Fennel and Spinach
• 3.5 lb. whole chicken cut in 8 pieces—back bone, wings, giblets and neck removed, save for stock.
• 6 medium carrots, cut in pieces, about 1/2 inch slice
• 1 medium brown onion, slice in ½ inch julienne
• 1 medium leek, cut in rings and rinsed to remove dirt
• 12 fingerling potatoes cut in 1/2 inch pieces—rings
• ½ piece fennel, core removed, cut in chunks
• 2 bunches spinach stem removed
• 4 cloves garlic
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• small handful thyme
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 cup chicken stock
• fresh ground pepper
• 2 Tbs olive oil
Rinse and dry chicken, season liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper and heat large heavy duty pot with a lid—an example might be a Le Creuset—add olive oil and let it coat bottom of pot.
Add chicken, skin side down, maybe 4 pieces at a time, you want pot to be hot enough with enough room to put a good sear on the chicken and brown nicely. Turn over and brown other side and remove from pot. Repeat with rest of chicken.
Remove pot from heat and pour off some of oil, leaving enough in pot to lightly sauté vegetables. Replace pot onto heat and add all vegetables except for kale. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper, stir.
Place rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and garlic cloves into a cheesecloth, tie closed and add packet to vegetables.
Add white wine and chicken stock and stir, scraping any bits off of the bottom of the pot. When liquid begins to boil, place chicken pieces skin side up into vegetable mix. Chicken pieces should be able to fit into veggies snugly.
As liquid comes to a simmer, turn heat to low and cover the pot. If you look into pot it should be simmering, not boiling. Cook covered about 30 to 40 minutes. To test for doneness you can feel chicken; it should be firm to touch. If needed, take a knife and cut into largest piece and pierce—juice should run clear.
When chicken is finished, remove from pot and add kale. Cover pot and let simmer for about five more minutes. Turn off heat, uncover, remove cheese cloth packet, taste your broth and season as needed with salt and pepper. Potatoes and carrots should be cooked through.
Place chicken back in pot, bring to your table and place on a liner and serve. You can sprinkle some fresh lemon juice on top.
Recipe notes from Chef Mead:
This recipe can be doctored to fit your tastes. Here are some ideas to help inspire creativity in the kitchen.
You can brown bacon in pot after browning chicken, cut into pieces and cook with veggies and chicken.
The recipe also lends itself to adding other fresh or homegrown veggies. Even though it seems simple, the fresh veggies really make a great dish - you can taste the difference.
For example, you could add cut celery, or mushrooms, leaving the mushrooms whole for effect. Instead of potatoes, you can add cooked beans. When you add your spinach, you can use pureed tomatoes or tomato paste with your stock, you can even add some “dumplings” and cook in broth before serving. Additionally, you could stir in a slurry of cornstarch and water to veggies and liquid when you add spinach and let simmer to thicken sauce. You could also add a touch of cream and a teaspoon of Dijon when you add spinach, or just stir in some butter for richness.
Please try this and enjoy it.