From "Bistro Cooking" by Patricia Wells

This is a wonderfully simple and homey recipe, a first cousin of the popular chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. Instead of garlic, one uses a generous portion of shallots, those tiny onion-like bulbs that turn sweet and soft when cooked in this manner. Serve this dish with baked or steamed rice, so all of the delicious sauce will be absorbed into the rice, and not a drop wasted.

Yield: 4 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 chicken (about 3 to 4 pounds), well rinsed, patted dry, cut into 8 serving pieces, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 60 shallots (2 generous cups, about 14 ounces), peeled
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Cognac
4 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped
Hot, cooked rice
A handful of fresh parsley, minced

*FreshDirect Note: Our shallots run on the large side. Keep this in mind when shopping for this recipe.

1. In a deep-sided non-reactive 12-inch skillet, heat the oil and butter over high heat. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. When the fats are hot but not smoking, add 3 or 4 pieces of chicken and cook on one side until the skin turns an even, golden brown, about 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pan; brown the chicken in several batches. Carefully regulate the heat to avoid scorching the skin. Turn the pieces and brown them on the other side, an additional 5 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the shallots and garlic, burying them under the chicken at the bottom of the skillet. Add all of the chicken to the pan. Sauté, covered, shaking the pan frequently, until the shallots are soft and begin to brown, and the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
3. Heat the Cognac in a very small saucepan over medium-high heat for 20 to 30 seconds. Ignite with a match and pour over the chicken. Shake the pan until the flames subside. Cook, shaking the pan, for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking until the sauce is nicely blended, about 5 minutes more.
5. To serve, place a bed of cooked rice on a large serving platter, cover with the sauce, then arrange the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with the parsley; serve immediately.

Excerpted from BISTRO COOKING copyright © 1989 Patricia Wells.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Wine content © Union Square Wines & Spirits. Wine and liquor sold by Union Square Wines & Spirits. Food and beer sold by FreshDirect.

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