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By Martha Rose Shulman - http://bit.ly/Afm9Iy @martharshulman This rustic and satisfying dish can be made even more nutritious with the addition of kale. This classic Italian dish must have hundreds of versions, all resulting in a rustic braise of chicken, aromatic vegetables and tomatoes. My version includes lots of mushrooms, both dried and fresh. You can add kale to the dish if you want to work in some leafy greens (see variation below).
Ingredients: 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, like porcini
(1/2 cup) 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper 6 to 8 skinless chicken legs and/or thighs (thighs can be boneless)
1 small onion, minced 1 small carrot, minced 1 rib celery, minced 2 large garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley 1 heaped teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/2 cup red wine 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice, pulsed in a food processor
Method: 1. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl or heat-proof glass measuring cup and pour on 2 cups boiling water. Let sit 15 to 30 minutes, until mushrooms are softened. Drain through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel and set over a bowl. Rinse the mushrooms in several changes of water, squeeze out excess water and chop coarsely. Set aside. Measure out 1 cup of the soaking liquid and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown, in batches, for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl as they are done. Pour the fat off from the pan and discard.
3. Turn the heat down to medium, add the remaining oil and the onion, carrot and celery, as well as a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Cover, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is soft and aromatic. Stir in the fresh and dried mushrooms, turn the heat back up to medium, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down a little and smell fragrant. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid that you set aside.
4. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and stir so that they are well submerged in the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with pasta or rice. Yield: 4 to 5 servings. Advance preparation: The dish can be made through Step 3 and held on top of the stove for several hours (refrigerate the chicken). The entire dish can be made a day or two ahead and reheated. It will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator and freezes well. When you run out of chicken but still have that luscious, gutsy sauce, use it as a sauce for pasta or a topping for bruschetta.
Variation with kale: Blanch a bunch of stemmed, washed kale for 3 or 4 minutes, transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely. Add to the pot after the chicken has simmered for 20 minutes. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Nutritional information per serving:(4 servings, using 3 legs and 3 thighs): 363 calories; 15 grams total fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 8 grams monounsaturated fat; 115 milligrams cholesterol; 18 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 165 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 35 grams protein