Today I was reminded of the childhood saying “April showers bring May flowers” as it has been raining here in the Napa Valley for the past two days. The dark clouds and cold winds make me want to open a bottle of my favorite red wine, Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, and cook something warm and comforting. Here is my favorite cold day recipe that our Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson created to pair with this wine.
Braised Hunter Style Chicken
Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 ea. Chickens cut in 8 pieces
1 cup Porcini mushrooms, sliced
1½ cup Onions, diced
2 ea. Garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 ea 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1 ea. Bay leaf
to taste Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, chopped
to taste lemon juice
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat a 12” sautoir or sauce pot over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and immediately place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. The chicken should sizzle merrily in the pan without much moisture accumulating. Brown the chicken all over, but do not worry about cooking them through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Pour off all but 1 ounce of the accumulated fat. Place the pan over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Sauté until slightly golden, but keep an eye on the fond (pan drippings) to make sure it does not burn. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and thyme, cook til aromatic. Add the tomato paste and sauté over low heat until it is slightly browned. Add the stewed tomatoes and bay leaf; bring to a simmer. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Place the browned chicken pieces in the sauce; they should be almost covered in sauce. Bring to a simmer and cover tightly. Place in a 350 °F oven. Let cook for 30 – 45 minutes until tender.
Remove the pan from the oven and skim off the excess fat that has accumulated on top. Remove the chicken from the pan, place on a platter. Adjust the seasonings of the sauce. Add fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
To serve: place chicken on a plate, spoon sauce on top and enjoy. Try this with polenta and braised greens.
Yield: 4 portions
Source: Chad Hendrickson, Hess Collection Winery