It's the first Wednesday of the month and Kate + I are back to share with you our latest dinner + wine pairing. For those of you new to this venture, we are on an adventure through wines! I've always wanted to learn to appreciate darker wines, and Kate happens to have the knowledge and love of wines to guide me through the transition from sweet to dark. Every month we share a recipe, a wine, and our thoughts with all of you! Feel free to start at the beginning if you want to baby step with me, or you can just jump right in with whichever pairing strikes your fancy! If you try one of our pairings use #winewednesdaysinpjs so that we can find you on social media! Let's jump in!
I must admit I was super excited about this month's wine! Kate & I actually decided to do this collaboration over a glass of Chardonnay (the Belle Ambiance in this post!) It's been a wine I knew I'd enjoy and a meal I'd been anticipating. Once Kate proposed the dish I'm about to share with you all, I got even more excited because it sounded amazing enough on its own. (Spoiler Alert: It is, and Michael and I have actually had it or some variation thereof at least twice since Kate & I made this dish.)
After the lobster adventure, Kate and I really wanted a dish that was easy to prepare. We didn't want to sacrifice taste, but we were not going to be standing over the stove melting a tablespoon of butter at a time, either. Haha. This dish was the perfect answer!
Are you ready for a chicken dish that is easy to make, tastes great with or without wine, and uses relatively few dishes?
4 Chicken Thighs (Chicken Breasts can be used, too. The most important part is that they have the skin on. Without the skin there is nothing to keep the chicken moist and slightly crispy.)
3 cups Brussels Sprouts (quartered)
4 1/2 Bacon Slices
2 Apples (bite sized)
1 Vidilia Onion (diced)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. One of the first and most important steps to making this recipe a success is ensuring that the chicken thighs are completely dry. The most effective way to accomplish this is by laying the chicken out on paper towels to start with. As you go about prepping your other ingredients, return to the chicken and pat it dry with a clean, dry paper towel. (Washing your hands before spreading raw chicken all over your kitchen is recommended, too.) If the chicken is not dry when you start to cook it, the skin will end up slimy instead of crispy, which I think we can all agree is not preferable.
3. Pre-cook the bacon slightly (you don't want it crisp and dry, but you also don't want to stick it in the pan with the other ingredients completely raw.)
4. Brown the onions in the bacon grease.
5. Once the chicken is really dry, coat the skin well with salt and a little bit of pepper.
6. Place the chicken in a pan on the stove top skin down on medium-high heat. Keep it on medium-high heat until the skin gets brown around the edges. A cast iron skillet is recommended for this dish, but if you have a pan that will work well in the oven, you're welcome to try that, too. I'm not sure how that will change the recipe, though.
7. When the edges of the chicken have started to brown turn the heat down to medium and add the bacon and onions to the pan without moving the chicken. It's very important to keep the skin in contact with the pan until much later in the cooking process. You don't want to allow moisture to get underneath the chicken and interfere with the crisping process.
8. After the onions and bacon, layer in the brussels sprouts and apples. You can stir the ingredients around over the chicken, but try not to break the skin's contact with the pan.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste and stick the pan in the oven for 15 minutes.
10. After 15 minutes, take the pan out of the oven, stir the ingredients around and flip the chicken over. Return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes.
11. Remove the pan from the oven. Double check to make sure the chicken is cooked, but it should be ready to eat at this point unless you want to make the optional jus.
Whatever liquid is left coating the bottom of your pan after you remove the chicken, veggie, and apple mix from the pain. It's okay if there are still small pieces of onions, bacon, or brussels in the bottom of the pan.
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (This amount is dependent on how much liquid is left in the bottom of the pan. You may need more or less depending.)
Directly after removing the pan from the oven, transfer the chicken and veggie mixture to either a bowl or individual plates. Be careful to leave as much of the liquid in the pan as possible. Once the chicken and veggie mixture has been removed, place the pan on the stovetop at medium-high heat. Add the apple cider vinegar to the mixture. Stir and scrap your pan to deglaze it, allowing the apple cider vinegar to bubble, mix, and thicken with the bits left in the pan. This will be forming your jus. Once it's a consistent, thickish syrup remove the pan from the heat, drizzle the jus over your chicken breasts and enjoy!
That wasn't too bad, was it? I promise it's really much more simple than it sounds and the taste is definitely worth it!
As for the Chardonnays, I'm going to let you head over to Kate's blog to read about those. As for my opinion, I really enjoyed them both! I think Belle Ambiance is one of my favorite wines, now, and definitely one I plan to enjoy when there's a moment worth celebrating over a glass of wine.
Are you a Chardonnay fan? What do you like to pair it with?
P.S. Want to keep up with us between posts or share your versions of this dish? Use #winewednesdaysinpjs or you can find Kate (@_mrskateharris) and myself (@paperswallowevents) on Instagram and tag us there! :)