Valentine Warner’s chicken thighs with port and madeira
- January 2014
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 40 min
This is a rich dish but it’s simple to prepare. The madeira and port combination is one successful and long-lasting marriage that works beautifully with the chicken thighs.
- 29.2g (14.9g saturated)
- 6.2g (5.5g sugars)
- 50g unsalted butter
- Splash of sunflower oil
- 12 large free-range chicken thighs
- 20g dried porcini, rehydrated in 100ml warm water
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 small shallots, very finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 125ml madeira
- 125ml port
- 150ml double cream
- 150ml chicken stock
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh curly parsley
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Melt the butter with the oil in a shallow ovenproof pan or casserole that has a lid. Season the thighs well, then add to the pan/casserole in batches and brown all over, taking care not to burn the butter. If the chicken doesn’t sizzle on entering the pan, it isn’t hot enough.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate, then drain off all but 2 tbsp of the fat. Add the mushrooms and their liquid with the bay leaves, then simmer rapidly. When all the liquid has evaporated, keep cooking the mushrooms until they begin to brown. Reduce the heat slightly, then add the shallots and cook for a further 6 minutes, stirring often, or until tender but not coloured.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Pour in the madeira and port, then turn up the heat and bubble until the liquid reduces and becomes semi-syrupy (there should be about 6 tbsp in the pan/casserole).
- Return the chicken to the pan/casserole, skin-side up, and add the cream and stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then transfer to the oven with the lid on for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
- If the sauce is too runny, remove the lid, transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Put the pan/casserole on the hob and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for 4-5 minutes until reduced. Add a squeeze of lemon juice (just enough to give the sauce an edge but not overpower it) and stir for 30 seconds or so, then turn off the heat. Stir in most of the chopped parsley, return the chicken thighs to the pan and season well.
- Divide among bowls, scatter over the last of the parsley, then serve with fried bread triangles, if you like.
Make the dish up to 2 days in advance, then keep covered in the fridge. Reheat and jazz up with extra chopped fresh herbs to serve.
To freeze, cool the chicken and the sauce at the end of step 5, omitting the parsley, then freeze in batches for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating, then stir through the parsley and any extra seasoning.
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