One of my favorite chicken dishes is from Alsace, the French region that borders Germany. It's called poulet au Riesling -- chicken with Riesling. Essentially, it's nothing more than chicken fricassee with a yummy wine sauce.
However, some recipes for chicken with Riesling are quite complicated. This one takes a "less is more" approach. I like this simplified version, which allows the main ingredients to really stand out.
Contrary to when we usually cook with wine, in this case you'll want a white wine -- preferably Riesling -- that isn't bone-dry. A touch of sweetness in the wine gives the sauce nice balance and flavor.
Also, you could add additional things like mushrooms, peas or carrots. And, the cream in the dish is optional, too. Chicken with Riesling tastes great without the added cream, but I also like the richness cream gives it.
You could use a whole, cut-up chicken for this recipe. However, I prefer the flavor of legs and thighs over the bland breasts. So, here, I just used a combination of drumsticks and thigh pieces.
3 bacon slices, cut into lardons
3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces; or, 8-10 thigh and drumsticks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 to 2 cups Riesling
1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
1-2 Tbs. minced parsley
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the bacon lardons over medium heat, until crisp and their fat is rendered.
Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces and add them, skin-side down, to the skillet.
Cook the chicken until browned, 10-15 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and place them on a plate or platter.
Put the onions and garlic into the skillet and cook in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned -- about 5 minutes. If the skillet gets too dry, add a pat of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the bay leaves to the onions.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of Riesling into the pan, scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken pieces and the bacon back to the skillet.
Cover and cook at a simmer until the chicken is cooked though, about 45 minutes. It should be almost falling off the bone. If the pan gets too dry while the chicken cooks, add another 1/2 cup of Riesling.
When the chicken is finished cooking, remove the pieces to a warm serving platter and finish the sauce.
You could serve the chicken and sauce now. However, I like to add a half-cup of cream at this point (optional). Stir the cream into the Riesling sauce until warmed through.
Ladle the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the minced parsley.
Serve with your favorite starch and a nice green salad.
Photos by Ted Scheffler