Chicken in a sherry vinegar and rosemary sauce.

Chicken cooked in sherry and sherry vinegar

Chicken cooked in a rich sauce of sherry, sherry vinegar and rosemary.

The Sherry and sherry vinegar used in this recipe add a warm complex slightly piquant flavour. Use a good Manzanilla dry aged sherry, or a Tio Pepe, and the best sherry vinegar that you can find. The addition of Rosemary adds depth and a wintery note to the dish.

Like many casseroles it is best made in advance to allow the sherry vinegar to mellow and the complex flavours to develop. Instructions are given in full below.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

12 small shallots, peeled

4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

Salt and black pepper

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 chicken thighs and 4 drum sticks (or 4 large legs halved)

50g Seasoned flour

olive oil for frying

100ml sherry vinegar

100ml dry sherry

2 -3 sprigs fresh rosemary

200ml chicken stock

 Method:

Heat the oven to gas 6/200c

Peel the shallots.

Peeling Shallots

Pour boiling water over the prepared shallots and leave for five minutes before peeling with ease.

The easiest way to do this is to take a small knife and with the blade facing upwards make a cut from the top of the onion through the stalk. Put the thus prepared onions into a Pyrex or heatproof bowl and cover them with boiling water. Leave for 5-10 minutes or until you can safely handle the onions without burning your fingers. The skins should peel away with ease.

Roasting Shallots

Roast the peeled shallots in oil with thyme and pepper for 15-20 minutes of until golden.

Put the prepared onions into a baking tray along with the unpeeled garlic cloves and the thyme. season with a pinch of salt and pepper, pour over the two tablespoons of oil and mix everything well together. Put into the hot oven for about 15 minutes while you brown the chicken pieces.

Lightly dust the chicken with the seasoned flour.

Pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole pan with a wide base and heat over a moderate flame. Place half of the chicken pieces, skin side down in the hot oil and cook for 3 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Turn the pieces over with tongs and cook for a further minute before removing to a clean plate. Cook the second batch in the same manner.

Turn the heat off, or to very low, and add the sherry and sherry vinegar. The liquid will bubble fiercely. When the boiling has subsided turn the heat back  to moderate and simmer the juice until it is reduced by about a third. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pan turning them to coat with the sherry. Add the chicken stock and the rosemary sprigs.

Remove the by now golden shallots from the oven and reduce the temperature of the oven to 150c/gas4. Tip the contents of the baking tray into the casserole, scraping it well to make sure you have all the flavour from the herbs and oil. Make sure the onions and the chicken pieces are well coated with the sauce.

Place the lid on the casserole and put it into the oven at the reduced temperature for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is succulent.

* If you are preparing this dish in advance cook for 20 minutes only at this stage. And then remove from the oven to cool completely. To reheat bring the contents of the casserole back to a simmer and cook at the same temperature for a further 20 minutes to heat everything through and finish the cooking – continue from here to finish.

To Finish:

Lift the chicken and the shallots from the juice to a warm serving dish but leave the garlic in the casserole.

Put the casserole over a moderate heat. Using the back of a wooden spoon squeeze the cooked garlic pulp from its skin. Discard the skin. Blend the garlic pulp into the sauce and bring it to a boil. Stirring continuously, bubble the sauce until it is reduced and thick. The garlic will help to emulsify and thicken the sauce. Check the seasoning and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and serve.

 Serve with:

Tagliatelle, Rosemary roast potatoes or with the delicious smoky paprika pilaf that will post on this site next week.  Anyone desperate for the recipe?  I do have it but not the pictures yet, so  its not ready for posting, but please do contact me with an email address and I will ping it your way.

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