Simple chicken dish cooked from Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Food’ – one of my favourite cookbooks. The chicken pieces are slow cooked in butter and oil to turn them golden brown, soaking up the flavour from the garlic pieces which nestle beside them. Then they’re removed and a splash of red wine soaks up the remaining buttery sauce and chicken juices, making a delicious gravy.
Chicken with Garlic and Herbs
2 pieces chicken per person, with skin and bones
butter – a thick slice
garlic – 6 large, sweet cloves
herbs – a small bunch of fresh parsley, plus thyme (or tarragon or chervil)
wine – a large glass white wine or dry vermouth
Rub the chicken all over with a little oil and some black pepper. In a large pan- it can be high-sided or shalllow but it must have a lid- warm enough olive oil to give a small puddle in the bottom, then add the butter. once the butter starts to froth, put in the chicken pieces and keep the heat moderately high while they colour. A pale and relatively even gold is what you are after.
Meanwhile, put the whole unpeeled garlic cloves on a board and, with the flat blade of a knife, squash them so that they flatten but remain fairly intat. Throw them in with the chicken. Turn down the heat so that the fat under the chicken is gently fizzing, then add a little sea salt, cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook over a low to moderate heat. The time it takes to cook will depend on the thickness of your chicken joins, but you should expect them to need about forty minutes. You will have to turn them during cooking so that they colour on all sides.
While this is happening, pluck the leaves from the herbs and chop them roughly. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish or warm plates, then fish out the garlic (although the garlic has done its work, it may be tender and sweet and is worth adding to the plate, though the skin should be discarded at some point).
Tip off most of the fat from the pan – what you are after is the golden, caramelised juice stuck to the bottom – then turn up the heat, pour in the wine and add the herbs and let it bubble. Scrape away at any stuck bits in the pan, encouraging them to dissolve into the wine with a wooden spoon. Let this all bubble away for a minute or two until you have a thin liquor. It should be pale and interesting. Now taste the juice for seasoning – it may need salt, pepper or a squeeze of lemon juice – and spoon it over the chicken. (Add an extra pat of butter at the end when making the sauce if desired.)
Taken from Nigel Slater’s Appetite.