This Burgundian dish, adapted from Anne Willan, combines whole garlic cloves simmered with tomatoes and mellowed with Cognac. I've taught it many times in a class featuring Chicken Dishes from France.
We use thighs at our house, because we prefer the dark meat, but you can use breasts if you'd rather. Please leave the meat on the bone, though. There's so much more flavor that way. - ChefJune —ChefJune
Test Kitchen Notes
The thrill of flambé is not to be missed! Chef June's recipe calls for flambéing the chicken and the 20 cloves of garlic, which gives the tomato sauce a spiced richness and depth, but without heat. The sauce is so remarkable -- I had to restrain myself from eating it as soup. I made this recipe twice: the first time brining the chicken, the second not. The brined chicken was superior in taste and tenderness. My guests loved this dish, and it is worth repeating many, many times. I can also see that, as I get more practiced, it will be fun to flambe in front of guests. Cheers to Chef June! - SKK —SKK
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces in batches and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet. Add garlic to skillet and stir 2 minutes.
Pour off fat from skillet. Return chicken to skillet. Add cognac and heat briefly. Ignite with match. When flames subside, add tomatoes, tomato paste and bouquet garni. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, turning pieces over once, 20 minutes for white meat and 25 minutes for dark meat
Transfer chicken to platter. Tent with foil to keep warm. Add stock to skillet and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing on the garlic with the back of a spoon to extract all the purée. Stir sauce over low heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups.
Gradually whisk in remaining tablespoon butter. Adjust seasoning. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley. Garnish with fresh thyme.
Serve with a rice pilau made with currants and green onions.