This recipe is presented as part of the Jefferson Thanksgiving Challenge. We asked alumni chefs to create Thanksgiving dishes using only the ingredients that would have been available at Monticello during Thomas Jefferson's time.
Chef’s Note: I chose this recipe because it’s a recipe that originated in 15th-century France and it’s likely that President Jefferson may have had a similar dish during his travels. It’s kind of a quick version of a Coq au vin. It’s also a very simple recipe and technique that most home cooks can manage. I believe the wines made in Virginia in those days were probably light and were drunk young so I chose a Gamay varietal like Morgon, Régnié or Beaujolais to cook with and also enjoy with the meal.
2 pounds chicken parts (all thighs, all breasts or a combo; with or without bones, but I prefer bones for flavor)
Sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
Potatoes for mashed potatoes
Cut chicken parts into 2-inch pieces, leaving some meat attached to the bones. Spread chicken pieces on a plate and season with salt and pepper (preferably with a pepper mill and salt mill).
In a heavy stainless steel skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat and add chicken to pan and lightly cook on both sides (about 5 minutes on each side) with minimum browning.
Add onions and garlic and stir to the bottom of the skillet with the chicken on top. Cook until tender. Sprinkle in flour and coat mixture. Add wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. The sauce will thicken and reduce to about half.
Add cream and chopped tarragon and continue to simmer until sauce is blended and chicken is tender, about 10 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes.
Chef’s Note: This dish might also be nice with some fresh grapes or raisins added in at the end during the last 10 minute simmer.