This is a dish from a farm in the Dordogne, where the walnuts are sweet, fat, and buttery tasting, and they make a perfect complement to poultry. This is the kind of dish that you settle down to with comfort and anticipation, because it’s got all the right elements, from cloves of garlic bursting with their sweet flavor to the golden chicken and walnuts and the tang of lemon that lifts the dish out of the ordinary. Serve this with a lovely Chardonnay.
Serves 4 to 6
EQUIPMENT: large heavy skillet with a lid, tongs
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes if the chicken is in pieces; 20 if not
COOKING TIME: 40 minutes max
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 3 1/2- to 4-pound (1.8 to 2 kg) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (2 breast pieces, 2 wings with portion of breast attached, 2 legs, 2 thighs), giblets reserved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups (375 to 500 ml) white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc
12 garlic cloves
1 1/4 cups (140 g) walnut halves or large pieces
Fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs for garnish
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, brown the chicken pieces, seasoning them liberally with salt and pepper, until they are golden, about 5 minutes per side, using tongs to turn the chicken pieces.
Add the lemon juice, 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the wine, and the garlic cloves to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through, about 15 minutes. Then stir the walnuts into the skillet, along with the giblets, cover, and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove the cover from the skillet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pan juices have evaporated and the chicken, walnuts, and garlic are golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Be sure to watch the walnuts, for they tend to brown easily. If they are getting too brown at any point in the cooking, remove and return them to the pan just before serving.
Transfer the chicken, garlic, and walnuts to a warmed serving platter and deglaze the skillet with the remaining wine, scraping the bottom to loosen any caramelized bits. Begin by adding the smaller amount of wine; if you need more, top it up with the remaining wine and cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Then pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the parsley sprigs, and serve immediately.
Astuce: Garlic turns to a sweet puree when cooked in its skin this way. Use organically produced garlic for this dish if you can, and the freshest possible walnuts.
From Plat Du Jour by Susan Herrmann Loomis. Copyright 2021. Reprinted with permission of Countryman Press.
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