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2 chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), well rinsed, patted dry, and quartered
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 pounds asparagus
Balsamic vinegar, for garnish (optional)
|1.|| Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking dish, and cover with the balsamic vinegar.
Scatter the thyme over the chicken, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, and marinate
for at least 8 hours.|
|2.|| Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pat the pieces dry.
Strain the marinade and set it aside.|
|3.|| Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a deep heavy skillet,
and sauté the chicken, in batches, over medium heat until lightly colored on each side, about 5 minutes.
(Be careful: The marinated chicken will easily burn and may sputter when placed in the pan.)|
|4.|| Remove the chicken and pour off the fat; add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.
Return the dark-meat pieces to the skillet, cover, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Then turn the dark-meat pieces over, and add the white meat (wings and breasts) and sprigs of fresh thyme.
Cover, and continue to cook until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork, 10 minutes.|
|5.|| Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Snap off and discard the tough lower stems of the
asparagus. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water,
and set aside.|
|6.|| When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet and set it aside, covered.
Spoon the excess fat from the skillet, and return the skillet to the heat. Add the reserved marinade and the asparagus,
and heat through, coating the asparagus thoroughly with the marinade, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus and transfer
it to heated serving plates or a platter; continue to boil the marinade down until it is reduced to a shiny syrup that
coats the back of a spoon.
|7.|| To serve, arrange the chicken next to the asparagus. Coat the chicken pieces
with the sauce, and dribble several drops of balsamic vinegar over the asparagus, if desired.|