Braised Chicken Legs in Pearl Pasta with Swiss Chard and Pickled Stems

Reprinted with permission from The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux by Paul Virant with Kate Leahy, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photo credit: Jeff Kauck © 2012

Braised Chicken Legs in Pearl Pasta with Swiss Chard and Pickled Stems

Reprinted with permission from The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux by Paul Virant with Kate Leahy, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photo credit: Jeff Kauck © 2012

This recipe is from The Preservation Table (Ten Speed Press, Hardcover with color photographs, $29.99) by Paul Virant with Kate Leahy.  The book's subtitle is "The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux," and in this recipe, that means that the braised chicken is served with Swiss chard which has been cooked with its own brightly flavored and quickly pickled stems.

For the pearl pasta, you can use Israeli couscous or fregola, the toasted little Italian pasta from Sardinia.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place an oven rack on the lowest level in the oven and remove the other rack.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325º F.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, warm about 1 tablespoon oil. In two batches, brown the chicken on both sides and transfer to a platter. Pour off some of the fat from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon. (Don’t worry if there are some brown bits of chicken remaining in the pot—they will add flavor to the braise.)
  4. Stir in the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion has softened, about ?4 minutes. Pour in the wine, using a spoon to dislodge any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Return the chicken to the pot and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, stir in the herbes de Provence, cover, and transfer to the oven.
  5. Braise for 1 hour. Remove the lid and check the chicken: it should be tender when pierced with a fork. If not, return the lid and cook for another 15 minutes. When tender, stir in the pearl pasta and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes. To serve, divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Place a chicken leg and thigh on top, and garnish with dill or chervil. Spoon some chard alongside the chicken.

Swiss Chard and Pickled Stems

Makes about 3 cups

1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a 4- to 6-quart pot, simmer the vinegar, water, shallot, honey, and salt until the honey and salt have dissolved.
  2. Tear the leaves off the stems. Trim off the tough ends and dice the stems into 1/4-inch pieces. Add the stems to the pot. (If the brine doesn’t cover the stems completely, that’s okay. The stems will soften in the brine.) Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure all the stem pieces absorb some brine, for 5 minutes. Let the stems cool completely in the brine. If you are not planning to serve them right away, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  3. In a large pot over high heat, warm the olive oil. Stir in the leaves and a pinch of salt and sauté until they begin to wilt. Using a slotted spoon, add the pickled stems to the pot, then spoon in half of the pickling liquid. Cook until the chard leaves are soft and most of the liquid is evaporated. Taste, adding more pickling liquid if you prefer a sharper taste.

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