Too Scattered for Pictures – Braised French Onion Chicken

In between waiting for deliveries (both baby and Royal Mail) I have had quite a bit of time in our flat.  While at times our 400 square foot flat has felt quite spacious, after a few days of sitting in and waiting for packages to arrive, it has started to feel a bit small.  Thankfully we had some lovely friends round for dinner last night.  I was able to throw myself into a bit of a baking and cooking whirlwind and briefly forget about impending deliveries.

TheKitchn recently posted a series of recommended winter recipes.  The recipe posted for Braised French Onion Chicken sounded too good to pass up.  There’s also something very therapeutic about caramelising onions that I just couldn’t pass up.  It’s not a quick recipe to throw together, but it’s a very rewarding and flavourful recipe that I definitely recommend for those days when you want something that will fill your home with the scent of thyme, onions, and chicken.

Sadly I have no pictures as I literally took this meal from the oven immediately to our kitchen table to serve up with our friends.  The pictures posted on thekitchn should convince you though!

Braised French Onion Chicken – from theKitchn

3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 lb red onions, sliced thinly into half moons (I used a mandolin, but a food processor or a shape knife would do fine)
salt and pepper
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp thyme
2 c chicken broth, low sodium, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
3 lb chicken (I used chicken breasts cut in half)
1 c gruyere cheese

In a large casserole pan (I used my large le creuset), melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions, tossing in the butter.  Add salt and pepper.  Cook over medium low heat for approximately 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The onions will slowly cook down and take on a light colour.  They will not likely look ‘caramelised’ yet!  Add the garlic and thyme, increasing the heat to medium high and stirring frequently.  Watching to see the colour of the onions change to a darker mahogany, turn the heat up to high and add 1c chicken broth.  Deglaze the pan with the broth, stirring up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow the liquid to reduce by about half.  Empty the contents of the pan into a bowl.  Place the pan back on the stove, again on medium heat.  Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Brown the breasts on both sides, cooking for approximately 3 minutes per side.  You may have to do this in several batches (I did 3 batches of 4 chicken pieces to avoid crowding the pan).  Once the chicken has all been browned, you can put it in the same bowl as the onions while you deglaze the pan (again).  This time, add the remaining 1c of chicken broth, stirring to pick up any brown bits from the pan.  Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard.  Reduce by half.  Add the onions and chicken back into the pan and cover.  Put into the oven at 325F or 150C for 30 minutes.  Top with gruyere cheese and place in the oven under the broiler until the cheese has melted and browned.  Serve with quinoa, bread, and salad.

Note: I left the chicken in the oven for probably closer to 45 minutes, ensuring the chicken was submerged in the onions and liquids.  It came out really tender and not at all dried out.  I think as long as the chicken is submerged in the juices it’s ok to cook it a bit longer.

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