This is a staple in bistro menus all around France, and is a favorite winter dish of mine. There are so many complicated ways to make this, but I have discovered that complexity does little to add to the flavor - the key is slow cooking.
It’s the subtle blending of the flavors that makes this a classic. I find that this is best if you can take it from stove top to oven, so a cast iron pot like Le Cruset is perfect. If not, it can be done on the stove over very low heat.
4 pounds of skinless Chicken thighs, or 4 pounds of skinless Chicken breasts if you prefer, or any combination.
½ pound Bacon, with a soft smoke or unsmoked or salt pork
2 Tbsp. Butter
½ cup Flour, optional
2 tsp. Salt
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 large Shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves of Garlic, sliced
5 sprigs of fresh Thyme, or 1 tsp of dried thyme
3 Bay Leaves
1 lb. of peeled baby Carrots
½ lb. Mushrooms or any fresh mushroom you desire. Keep them whole if possible.
¼ cup of Cognac
1 bottle of Burgundy or Pinot Noir
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the butter to the pan and render down the bacon over medium heat.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and brown the chicken. It is your choice to either flour the chicken lightly prior to browning or not.
Remove the chicken and set aside and add the garlic, shallots, onions and cook until golden brown. Normally, about 10 minutes will do. Then add carrots and lightly sauté.
Now add back the browned chicken and pour in the cognac and cook until the alcohol is gone, and then add the thyme, bay leaves, cooked bacon, mushrooms and wine. Bring to a boil and put into the oven covered for 2 hours.
When finished, remove the cover and stir well. Recover and allow to sit outside of the oven for 5 to 10 minutes and then serve with thick sliced Como, sourdough bread or a baguette.
Hint: If you don’t use skinless chicken, you will need to skim the fat off the top. If you prefer this method, then skim just before serving.