A braise of glory

25 September 2019

I have had the pleasure of hosting many visiting friends, cooking classes and events over the last few months and my saving grace — and great pleasure to use — during these sessions is my braiser.

It is literally a “do everything” cooking vessel:  You can use it to first sear and brown meats at high temperatures on your stove, then place it in the oven to finish cooking, for example.

A braiser is an enameled cast iron cooking vessel that distributes heat evenly, allowing the “low and slow” cooking method to shine. It is similar to a Dutch oven, but wider and shallower, with a domed, tight-fitting lid that allows for a convection effect. This keeps the air moister and circulating more inside the braiser as the food cooks.

Braisers can be used in all stages of meal-making — food preparation (including marinating), cooking (stir-fry, braising, slow cooking, fast-searing meats or even baking breads and cakes), food storage and serving.

Bon Vivant carries braisers in various welcoming colours and sizes. Here is an easy and tasty recipe to share with your friends and family.

CREAMY MUSHROOM CHICKEN

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 6 strips bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or herbs de Provence
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh thyme leaves (to serve)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a large braiser. Season the skin side of the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil/ butter is bubbling, place the chicken skin-side down in the pan and cook for five minutes on each side, until the skin is crispy and golden. Set aside.

Remove all but one tablespoon of oil, add the bacon and cook for about two minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is just translucent, about five minutes.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms are just starting to release their juices. Add the chicken back to the pan, placing the pieces under and around the mushrooms.

Pour over the stock, add the cream and herbs de Provence and increase the heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the chicken registers 165˚F on a digital meat thermometer. Serve hot with fresh thyme leaves and enjoy! Serves four to six.

Maureen Cubbon is one of the chefs at Bon Vivant and director of Bestlife, a wellness and culinary company that provides educational-based support programmes to help people attain their wellness goals.

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 print edition of Camana Bay Times.