Gerrit and I have been painting our bathroom for the past week. It has taken way longer than it should because we had to fix the ceiling in some places and then spray more popcorn stuff on the ceiling, which is apparently the messiest home improvement thing you can do. And there is so much trim to paint around in our bathroom: windows and mirrors and counters and lights and all these weird wall cut outs where apparently we are supposed to put a television or something. So it is slow going, but we’re mostly enjoying it. We’ve been listening to a lot of travel podcasts about Italy while we paint, in preparation for our trip this summer. (Although, we probably need to hold it on the travel tip podcasts and maybe start listening to some that will teach us some actual Italian. Right now, we’re hoping our Spanish might come in slightly handy.)
Last night we were listening to people calling in and talking about there experiences in Italy or asking questions, and they were talking about all of the open air markets that there are, and how, if you have an apartment in Rome, then you’re lucky because you can go to the open air market and come back and cook you’re own meal (not that there aren’t great restaurants, because there obviously are, but just that the markets are so wonderful, too). And since we already have an apartment in Rome booked, I hope to do this at least once: going to the market for meat and vegetables and cooking something for ourselves.
And the only reason I’m thinking about this is because this chicken recipe comes from Ina Garten and her show a few weeks ago where she was cooking it during a trip to California. And I have to wonder how these things work in television production, because obviously she is on “vacation” with her camera crew and it appears that she brought her entire kitchen with her, because really, the kitchen in her rented house looks almost the same as the kitchen she has in The Hamptons.
I bookmarked this recipe thinking it looked a lot like her Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, which is one of my most favorite recipes ever. (If I were ever on Best Thing I Ever Made, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic would be it for chicken. Buttermilk Brined Grilled Chicken would go on the grilling episode. I think about these things.) And while it was so much like that favorite recipe, with the tender braised chicken and the garlicky sauce, it was also a bit different, with less garlic and the addition of mushrooms that become sharp and a bit vinegary cooked in white wine. This is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken, in a big pot of liquid, and this version did not disappoint.
And although I am dreaming about Italy and shopping in the markets of Rome, right now it is still February, and this meal is exactly the bright chicken dish that we needed on our table as we wait for Spring.
Chicken with Mushrooms
adapted from Ina Garten
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
8 bone-in pieces of chicken
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
8 sprigs fresh thyme (or about 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Pat the chicken dry on both sides with a paper towel. Liberally season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, place 1/2 cup flour. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess.
3. In a large oven proof pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken skin side down (working in batches). Cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is browned on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
4. Lower the heat to medium, and add the whole garlic cloves, mushrooms, and thyme to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Then add the sherry, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits away from the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add the wine, chicken stock, with a large pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Add the chicken back to the pot. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
6. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the chicken from the pot, setting the chicken aside on a plate and covering it with tinfoil.
7. In a small bowl, combine the butter with 1/4 cup flour. Mash together with a fork, and then add it to the liquid in the pot. Cook the liquid over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened to make a sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
8. Place the chicken back in the sauce and serve hot. Or serve the chicken with the sauce poured over it.