I love a good braise - the meat is slowly cooked in a little bit of liquid and it becomes incredibly tender and full of flava. Plus you get to use the cheaper-cuts of meat, which saves you your hard-earned dollars. For this recipe I rubbed really good smoked and sweet paprika on chicken drumsticks and thighs. It's kind of gross, but necessary, to rub the spices on the meat - just be careful and wash your hands thoroughly in hot, soapy water afterwards, but you knew that.
Heat olive oil in your braising pan or skillet - I used the Nordic Ware Pro Cast Traditions Aluminum Traditions Braiser, and it worked like a dream. The chicken browned beautifully, cooked evenly and quickly, and hello - no bits stuck on the bottom. Clean up was easy, just in a sink of soapy suds. The pan is durable yet light; I don't feel like I'm getting a workout like with some other heavy cookware. I love that this braising pan cooks like cast iron and looks pretty while sitting on my table too. Okay, back to the chicken. Once it's browned, remove it to a plate, sauté some onions and garlic, then put the chicken back into the pan, with a good glug of white wine, chicken broth, herbs and let it simmer for a about 40 minutes. Yes, those are mismatched socks - but hey it was laundry day.
Once the chicken is fully cooked and practically falling off the bone, stir in the chopped kale, maple syrup and cream. Let the sauce reduce down another 15 minutes, so it's thickens up a bit. There is such a great range of flavours here - sweet, smoky, earthy, and the kale was particularly gorgeous. I wish I would have added more - I couldn't get enough of it! Chicken is always fabulous in a white wine sauce, but the extra kick of paprika really works wonders. Mellow maple syrup marries all of the flavours and I had a little bit of cream that needed using up so it brought a velvet finish to the dish. No cream? No worries, it will be fine without it. Be sure to give a squeeze of fresh lemon and serve with your favourite roasted potatoes.
This space may be quiet for a bit...I'm going to take a few extra days in the Toronto area to visit old friends and bask in the April sunshine where there is no snow on the ground. Without a doubt I'll return fresh and inspired and full of good stories. Until then, xoxo Renée
Braised Chicken & Kale in White Wine
10 chicken pieces - I used drumsticks and bone-in thighs
2 tbsp paprika - I used some smoked and some sweet
kosher salt, ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1 large bunch kale (or more!), centre rib removed, cut into 1 inch strips
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
Sprinkle chicken with paprika, salt, pepper and rub all over. Heat oil in your braising pan or large skillet and add chicken pieces skin side down. Do not crowd the pan, so you may have to do this in batches. Brown the chicken turning occasionally, until it's brown on both sides and transfer to plate. This takes about 8 minutes. Add onion and garlic to pan, cook stirring often until softened, about 8 minutes. Return chicken to pan, add broth, wine, herbs and bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer about 40 minutes. Remove lid, stir in the kale, maple syrup and cream, and let the sauce cook down for another 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings with more salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and roasted potatoes. Serves 4-5. Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2013.
Disclosure: I did receive the Nordic Ware as a gift, and with a review of the product I have a chance to win even more Nordic Ware, which would be absolutely fantastic. But as with anything I review here, I wouldn't tell you about a product unless I absolutely loved it.