As most of you faithful readers know, I love cooking with booze. Using beer, wine or spirits is a great way to infuse flavor and amp up a dish. Whether it’s used for deglazing in a simple pan sauce or for a low and slow braise, alcohol can add a myraid of flavors to a dish (as long as you’re not using bottom shelf swill).
Wine has become a fairly common ingredient in different cuisines, but many chefs and home cooks tend to divert back to red and white wines for their cooking. While Imbibe.com’s research shows that sparkling wines like Champagne are seeing great growths in popularity, they’re often left in wine glasses, and out of dishes. However, it’s quite easy to incorporate them into hearty meals. You’d be surprised how some simple substitution can bring a whole new depth of flavor to your meals.
This holiday season is a great time to experiment with sparkling wines, as you’re sure to get quite a few bottles for Christmas. The Good Food Channel says that Champagne can be added to a dish at different points in the cooking process to add different levels of flavor. The following recipe is a nice simple dish that stands on its own, which has the potential to become your new favorite comfort food meal.
As with other recipes, the freshness of the ingredients will play a big role in this dish. Opt for fresh instead of the frozen variety whenever possible.
Chicken with Fresh Peas and Sparkling Wine
1 whole chicken, cut up into eight pieces
1 ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt
½ teaspoon of freshly-ground pepper
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of chopped dill
2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 cups of fresh peas
1 pound of new potatoes, quartered
1 cup of chopped onions or leeks
3 cups of sparkling wine
This dish is quite similar to other chicken casseroles. First, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a platter with several layers of paper toweling and set aside. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper, making sure to season both sides of the chicken, ready for browning.
Add the oil to a skillet set over medium-heat, and once the oil is nice and hot, add the chicken pieces, skin-side down. Cook until the chicken is well-browned, and the skin is crispy. This should take around 5 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the chicken from the skillet and transfer it to the prepared platter. Reserve three tablespoons of the chicken drippings and discard the rest.
Use the same skillet to cook and brown the potatoes with a mixture of the reserved chicken fat. Cook the potatoes on high heat on one side for about 10 minutes until browned, and then add the chopped onions and cook for two minutes. Once the onions have cooked through, add the sparkling wine and let the whole thing boil down for one minute.
Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, and transfer to the oven to roast for 40 minutes. This will allow the chicken to take on the flavors of the potatoes, onions, and wine. After 40 minutes, add the peas to the casserole and cook for another five minutes to tenderize the peas.
Before serving, dot the chicken pieces with equal amounts of butter and let it melt over the chicken. This will add another level of creaminess and flavor to the dish. Sprinkle the dish with dill and serve.