September 26, 2015

Blog the Thirty-first: Two Ways to Braise Chicken on‑the‑bone

plus a bonus Pork Chop Braise!

I don’t cook my most delicious food for my Gentile friends, because I don’t think they deserve it.  I spend half the afternoon over a skillet, gently sautéing layer upon layer of a chicken braise, and they say, “Delicious!  See, there’s nothing wrong with serving chicken at a dinner party.”  Such is their indulgent homage to my chicken‑on‑the‑bone.  It’s as if they’re telling me not to feel embarrassed, which being a praeteritio itself embarrasses.  Or else there’s the wistfully condescending, “It tastes like something my grandmother would have made from her French provincial cook book.”  That’s a sweet compliment (I think), but you know what, it’s a hell of a lot easier for me just to make you a steak, so how about you spare me your reassurance and my afternoon, and we go with the steak, eh?

And there’s yet another problem with braising chicken parts for you Gentiles:  when it comes to eating, you’re big babies.  Many of you don’t like the “dark” meat, and you don’t know how to use a fork and knife to get it off the bone.  Next best thing of course would be for you to pick it up with your hands and gnaw it off with your teeth, but you’d sooner leave mouthfuls of flesh still clinging to the bone to be tossed in the trash rather than sully your fingers or your napkin at a dinner-party.

No, no, braising is not labor to be thus wasted on the polite; this is food for the hungry soul.  The dark meat at the bone is the tastiest of the animal, a gift of its viscera to yours.  Cutlets of breast have no such power to stir your viscera.  They offend little because they offer little; are receptive to the flavorings of your choice because they have so little of their own.  Bland food for bland souls.  Carnivorous souls want that whiff of blood, that tearing of sinew, that slick on the tongue of cartilaginous jelly rendered from bone—recollections of a time when men gave thanks to God as they reverently laid on altar fires the beasts sacrificed to feed their bowels.  Polite Gentiles can’t handle such truth, let alone mention of bowels. 

There was a time, though, when I gladly cooked my delicious chicken‑on‑the‑bone for select Gentiles, and they ate it with visceral gusto—when we were all poor.  Back in the day of dissertation writing, I did a lot of cooking because, well, I had to eat, didn’t I?  No fair minded director could call cooking procrastinating, could he?  So I cooked, almost every day, and I cooked what I could afford, which regularly meant the big family pack of chicken parts that could fill a high-sided pan with a mound of succulently sauced meat dripping off the bone, enough for a tableful of A.B.D.’s who were glad to bring bottles of cheerful wine, and to stay up long into the night debating eternal things. 

But now that they’re all grown up with well paying jobs and well bred kids, they feel an irritating satisfaction in their prosperity about not snobbishly raising their nose or brows at chicken‑on‑the‑bone.  Well, sorry, but that’s not good enough for me.  Blessed are the poor, is what I say to that sort of tolerance. You will have to become poor of heart if you’re going to get chicken‑on‑the‑bone at my table these days, For the hungry are filled with good things, and the rich sent empty away. 

The reason I have many ways of cooking chicken‑on‑the‑bone delicious is that my mother had many mouths to feed on a single blue-collar paycheck.  Besides four kids, there were single uncles and aunts passing through day to day on the way to the upstairs apartment, and other aunts with cousins dropping in on weekends, and then a regularly recurring cycle of family feasts.  An expansive pan of succulent chicken and a few loaves of crusty bread can go a long way, when you need to. 

The way in which we ‘braise’ chicken on the bone delicious is the very soul of my mother’s cooking, and the mother of my own cooking.  I loosely name it ‘braising’ because we first gild each element separately in (buttered) oil, then combine them all and add some wine or broth or water for them to simmer in together, which simmering educes a delicious ‘gravy’ of sorts from the food itself, rather than super-adding a sauce. 

This way of cooking doesn’t require culinary skill as much as it does time, patience, and tender loving care.  Such cooking stirs house and soul with its scents, and my Gentile neighbors often complain about the tormenting aromas flowing out my kitchen window.  They come in waves through the afternoon as each element of the dish is gilded in the same pool of buttery oil, an ointment to meld flavors into an intensive elixir that, at the ripe moment, is expanded into a pan‑sauce by a final dilution of white wine, or broth, or both.  This is tasty at its tastiest.  It makes your tongue smack.

My favorite as a kid is what we kids called “sticky chicken” because we would eat it with our hands, and our paper napkins would stick to our sauced fingers.  The remarkably tasty sauce comes from remarkably humble stock, the stock root‑vegetables of the Italian frig:  carrot, celery, & onion.  These root vegetables are call aromi in Italian, and a handful were often tossed into the paper bag complimentary by my farmer-grocer at the ancient farmer’s market in Rome’s Campo de fiori when I lived around the corner from it.  French cuisine refers to this trio as a mirepoire when it chops them all down into a crumble, to be sautéed down into a pulp, to vanish into a sauce.  Perhaps needless to say, that’s not how we do it and that’s repugnant.  We slice the onion, carrot, and celery thin, but still large enough to retain their visual integrity to the end, mingling, to be sure, but into a medley, not a mash.

My mother’s Italian name for her “sticky chicken” is alla cacciatore in bianco, which I’ll render whimsically as blonde hunter’s chicken.  What makes my mother’s hunter “blonde” is omission of the tomato that makes the well-known Italian red-sauce restaurant version into, well, yet another red sauce.  If that’s the version you know, you might not even recognize my mother’s dish as its sibling, since abundant tomato quite overwhelms the aroma and savor of the root vegetables that qualify it as “hunter style” in southern Italian nomenclature.  My mother’s version is not red and soupy; it’s golden, unguent and unctuous—unctuous done right.

Why hunter’s style?  After all, chicken is not game, and root vegetables are more likely found in the larder than the forest.  Well, once again, we find claims of fact contending with tales of truth.  There’s a modern historical claim that the dish was as a matter of fact invented by a Calabrian family named Cacciatore, which would make the name as boring as incidental.  Then there’s a story that the name is really alla cacciatora, referring to the hunter’s wife, who would prepare this dish the night before the hunt to fortify her husband for his hunt.  That account is more charming than the historian’s claim, but not much more persuasive, as chicken doesn’t seem all that fortifying, does it?

More charming and more persuasive is the story that she’d prepare it the night after the hunt, should her husband come up empty-handed.  Now that story seems to get at the culinary truth:  when you have to make do in a pinch with what’s at hand, there will always be some onion, carrot, and celery around (if your frig is Italian), and with any luck better than your husband’s, there’ll be a chicken in the yard.  Perhaps the modern equivalent is, you’re approaching the end of the month, and your grad-student budget went bust earlier than scheduled, but you find the family pack of chicken parts on sale dirt cheap, and you remember having some root vegetables at the back of the frig.  Dinner!  In fact, why not a dinner party?

From yet another viewpoint, if you’re a kid willing to eat your hunter’s chicken with your hands, it becomes more fitly called “sticky chicken,” and because thus denominated it is not only a budget-saver but a kid-pleaser (an Italian kid, at any rate—no telling with a Gentile one), my mother made it often for our family, on Thursdays or Sundays, as a light but tasty meat dish to follow a first dish of pasta with tomato sauce.  But my mother had more time, and patience, and love for others than I generally do, so I’ve picked up from Marcella Hazan another way of braising chicken parts that requires less time and patience—less enough, in fact, that I’m willing to make it for myself any weeknight, and even for a select Gentile or two.  This braise uses rosemary, an herb my mother does not like for its pungency—her own Saccatar’ cooking sticks to such sweet herbs as parsley and basil—but the advantage of rosemary’s assertiveness is that it can, joined by garlic cloves, carry the braise on its own, without long layering of other ingredients.  The result is quite satisfying, if not quite as stirring as my mother’s blonde hunter.

Both recipes will work with chicken parts of different sizes and cuts.  At one extreme, you could use a “whole chicken cut-up,” which you could cut into yet smaller parts, as desired (back in grad schools, I bought whole chickens cheap, sliced my own cutlets from the breasts, cut up the legs for braising or broiling, and used the carcass & organs for broth).  At the other extreme, you could use a pack of chicken thighs, or drumsticks, or a mix of the two, which is what I prefer.  I prefer these parts because their dark meat is tastiest and juiciest, and the smaller parts are more thoroughly penetrated by the pan juices.  However, if you have babies who only eat white meat, you’ll need some breast, which you’ll also need to cook for less time to keep from drying out (it’s better, by the way, to hold back breasts at first and then add them in for the second half of simmering, rather than to remove them early to keep them from drying out).  

I always pull off all the chicken skin, use scissors to trim away globs of fat, and rub off any slimy stuff.  Personally, I don’t see the attraction of chicken skin even when crisped right, but if I did, as a cook I’d still object to the flavoring’s going to the skin instead of the flesh, which steams bland beneath its fatty sheath.  I want my flesh gilded by sizzling oil and imbued by my seasoning.  Chicken skin can’t stay crisp in braising because of the liquid added, and since the goal is to braise flavor into the flesh, the skin is clearly an impediment to be removed. 

So, skin removed, I first soak and swish the chicken parts around in salty water to cleanse them, then rinse and dry well with paper towels.  (If I have the time and inclination for it, I might brine the chicken parts in 1 qt. water to ¼ cup salt, whether all afternoon, all day, or even all night, and then rinse well and dry well, but I’ve noticed that brining doesn’t make nearly as much a difference to dark meat as it does to white meat.)  Once your chicken is cut up, trimmed, washed, and well dried with paper towels, lay out the parts and sprinkle them evenly all over with an even if light showering of salt and fresh grindings of black pepper.  Then turn the parts over, and do the same to the other side.  Now they’re ready for the pan.  (Yes, the prep is already labor‑intensive, but be tender and remember, you love to care, right?)

You could do your braising all in one pan, but I prefer to brown the elements in a broad non-stick skillet, and transfer them in layers to a high-sided braising or sauté pan as I go, with a final “deglazing” of the skillet at the end with white wine, to be poured all over the gilded expanse of meat in the braising pan.  But my mother will do anything to avoid having an extra pan to wash, so, if you are such as she, then you brown in your one pan, remove to a plate as you go, and then add everything back into the self-same pan together for the deglazing with wine, so that you have only a big plate to wash instead of a second pan.  Whatever.

The Blonde Hunter’s Chicken

There’s so much trimming and chopping of the root vegetables in this recipe that I get started in advance of browning the chicken parts, although the chopping can be done during the browning, if you’re good at multi-tasking and you’re switched on.   To get started, though, peel your carrots and trim your celery stalks, and put them to soak in cold water.

Now pour out a pool of olive oil to cover the bottom of your (non-stick) skillet, and plop a wad or two of butter into the middle, and turn the heat up to medium-high.  When the butter has melted, frothed, and is sizzling, add only as many chicken parts as leaves them breathing room.  Adjust the heat so that they sizzle cheerfully, not angrily, and do not touch them until you see their bottom edges curl and color.  Then peek under one to see if its face is gilded, and if so, turn the pieces over to do the same to the other face. (I often start off with the flat meaty side, and then when I turn, to help the now curved side brown, I might tip the skillet to create a deeper pool of oil around the parts.)  Fry the chicken parts in batches, collecting the gilded parts in the braising pan as you go.

Meanwhile, you’re chopping onion.  You’ll want a lot of onion – a jumbo one per pack of parts – and as much carrot and celery combined as onion.  I halve the onion vertically, notch out the root below and pompidou above, then lay down each half flat on the cutting board;  I halve it horizontally once or twice, and then securing it with tightly curled fingers, slice it very thinly vertically, into inch-lengths.  I end up with a high mound of onion hair, as after a young mop-head’s haircut.

When the chicken parts have all been browned, scrape the mound of chopped onion into the pan, off heat, tossing it in the chickened oil.  Shower the onion with salt, cover the skillet, and return it to the heat.  When you see the pan steam and hear the onion sizzle, flip all the onion in the chickened oil again; then cover and sizzle some more, until the onion glistens oily with sweat.  At that point, remove the cover and keep sautéing, gently but cheerfully, with frequent flipping, until the onion blushes golden and sweet.  This takes a while, and it is critical, because it’s the sautéed sweetness of the onion that will make your dish delicious.  You can’t rush such alchemy:  sauté the onion long and gentle, neither angrily nor languidly, with frequent tossing, for a quarter hour, as long as needed to turn it into gold.

Meanwhile, you can slice your carrots and celery.  (If your sticks or stalks are unusually thick, you could slice them vertically first.)  Slice the sticks and stalks thinly crosswise into slices at least twice as thick as the onion slices.  In the end, you’ll want onion cooked down into a mulch for chicken parts bestrewn with coins of carrot and crescents of celery – like an impressionist painting of an orange poppy field on a golden afternoon. 

Add your carrot and celery when your onion has finally blushed golden, and toss them all together in the oil with a shower of salt.  Cover and steam, as before, until glistening; then uncover, and sauté, with flippings, to glossy.  Meanwhile, grind black pepper from on high all over until the billows smell of it.  If you have some sweet fresh herb at hand, such as parsley, basil, or thyme, chop and fold some in.  Breathe the perfume.  In winter, add dried basil, thyme, or marjoram.  It should smell delicious and the smell should torment your neighbors. 

Now it’s time to add white wine, which requires a discretion that you can learn only from experience, which probably means getting it wrong before you get it right.  It’s art, not science, so the measure here is too precise to be quantified.  It’s a proportion, and a proportion, being a relation between things and not itself a thing, is not the sort of thing seen with the eye.  It’s something only a soul can see. 

The beauty of braising is that it educes its “sauce” from the things braised, mingling and distilling pan juices in a precious ointment of buttery oil which, however, needs to be dispersed and suspended in liquid to inflate into a pan sauce.  Such a suspension is a matter of equilibrium.  Too much liquid remains in the end, and your sauce is more soupy than saucy (and so not as tasty); too much liquid simmers off, and your pan‑sauce collapses into an oil slick (not undelicious, mind you, just oily).  With experience, you learn how much wine you need for how much oil, and how much oil you need for how much sauce—you might have to spoon some oil off before adding the wine—because there’s even such a thing as too much sauce, since you want the chicken coated by it, not drowning in it.  You’ll only ever know in the end if you got the proportion right in the beginning.

There are of course ways to mitigate mistakes:  if your meat is cooked but your sauce soupy, you can remove your meat and cook down your sauce—but your meat will have a more steamed taste and texture than when it cooks down with its sauce.  Likewise, if your pan-sauce collapses into a pond of oil, you can add more wine when reheating to re-inflate it, but it may well make the taste too winey.  Chances are, though, that nobody will notice but you and your soul, or else, that the savory oil is so delicious sopped up with bread, nobody you should care about will care.

Okay, back to the sizzling skillet.  When all in the skillet glows golden, spoon out excess oil, if need be, but save the oil to add back in if you want more later.  Then turn up the heat to medium‑high, and when the oil sizzles lively, pour in white wine all around the circumference of the skillet, enough to puddle in the middle of the pan, rising like a shallow pond whose inhabitants can still peer well above its surface.  Let the wine heat up to a vigorous sizzle without stirring or tossing or shaking.  When the wine sizzles lively and oil slicks start to rise here and there, shake the pan, toss the vegetables in the vinous broth, and pour it all over the chicken parts laid out snugly in the braising pan.

At this point, you have options.  First, for spice, if you’d like this dish mildly hot, you can toss in some whole pepperoncini, the mildly hot, light green, “banana” variety—but slit first in order to drain them of their pickling vinegar.  Frankly, I think it’s safer just to leave out the peppers and let the dish be unapologetically sweet, but riper palates like the dish’s sweetness offset by some hot tanginess.  For a less permeating effect, the pepperoncini can be added later in the simmering; for a more permeating effect, they could have been tossed into the skillet during the prior sautéing of root vegetables.  The bright green peppers look nice scattered here and there, and my mother’s original impulse to add them was more for visual effect, so she adds them only in the last few minutes.

You also have to opt how to finish simmering the chicken, whether on the stove or in the oven.  If in the oven, preheat to 350, cover the braising pan completely, and just let it sit and bake until the meat is fork-tender, for a moist, tender, saucier result—like a fricassee.  If on the stove, my mother simmers gently with the cover slightly ajar, flipping the chicken and vegetables over once or twice, until the braising liquid reduces to a glaze on the chicken. She worries about drying the chicken out and so keeps the simmering to a minimum (20-30 minutes?).  However, I’ve been persuaded to more northerly practices of simmering the chicken longer and slower (though still steadily), with the pan covered completely for the first 30-40 minutes, and then with the cover ajar for the final 15-20 minutes.  This slow-cooking makes the chicken very tender and succulent.

Bonus Recipe:  The Blond Hunter’s Pork Chops!

Not too long ago, for reasons perhaps inarticulable, my mother braised pork chops alla cacciatore in bianco.  I didn’t like them at all, and wondered why she did, but kept my wonder to myself.  Then she made it again. When I remained silent, she said they came out good.  Then she made them again, but this time with lots of tangy-hot green pepperoncini.  I loved it, and I said so.  I can’t say why, only that I don’t like the pepperoncini with the chicken, and I don’t like the pork chops without the pepperoncini.

I’ve tweaked her recipe for the chops.  Here’s my tweak, and my thoughts. 

First, blithe prosperity is its own just punishment.  If you ever only buy pricey loin chops, all smooth and pink and homogenized, you’d better brine them all day or night in 1 quart water to ¼ cup salt, because they will dry out and toughen up otherwise. They're no good for this recipe.  What you really want—because it’s what this recipe wants—is dark rib meat, and the darker the better.  In fact, best of all may well be the economy pack of “mixed” chops, with a couple of seemly ones on the top, and then below, dark ones segmented by fatty cartilage—the food of the working poor. 

Second, for reasons perhaps inarticulable, my mother and I think that the pork chops, unlike chicken parts, need a crust.  So, after you’ve brined, rinsed, dried, and lightly salted and peppered your chops on both sides, pour out a mound of flour on a paper towel, and then several tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs, and a shower of coarse salt and fresh pepper, and use the corners of the towel to mix the mixture.  Then press each chop into the flour mix, on both sides, first patting the flour in, but then shaking free any excess.

Your wads of butter have of course been meanwhile melting into your pond of regular olive oil over medium-high heat in your broad (non-stick) skillet, and when the butter froth reduces to a sizzle, you can start gilding your pork chops in the buttered oil, on both sides.  Lay out the gilded chops in a high-sided braising/sauté pan as you go. For each chop, slice a slit in a pepperoncino to drain its vinegar, and lay the pepperoncini in between the chops in the braising pan. 

When your chops are all browned, sauté your onion to glossy, as above, then your carrot and celery to glossy, as aboveBut, while your carrot and celery are pre-steaming, finely chop a largish clove of fresh garlic, and when you remove the cover from the pan to continue sautéing the carrot and celery to glossy, mix in the chopped garlic.  You can also add fresh parsley, thyme, or marjoram, chopped.  As above, when all in the pan blushes golden, raise the heat, add wine (with a bay leaf or two, if you have it) and heat the wine to a sizzle.  Give all the vegetables a toss in the sizzling wine, and then pour all out over all the chops laid out in the braising pan. 

Cover the braising pan, and put it into an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Leave the pan in peace, but check every 15-10-5 minutes, and when the pork chops are fork-tender, remove the pan from the oven, and let the chops relax a bit, covered, before plattering them.  If you prefer, you could instead finish the chops on the stove, with the cover slightly ajar, turning them once.

The (Much Easier) Rosemary & Garlic Braise

Okay, but what if you neither have the time or patience nor are feeling the love for all that slicing and sautéing?  I’ve got a recipe for you that crosses two of Marcella Hazan’s, and can be done in an hour, if you spring for a pack of butcher‑trimmed skinless chicken thighs ready‑to‑cook.

As usual, pat your parts dry with paper towels, and season on both sides evenly all over with salt and fresh pepper.  Melt a wad or two of butter into a pool of regular oil in a broad pan on medium-high heat.  Once the butter melts, froths, and finally sizzles, add in the chicken parts, meaty side down, without overlapping (and preferably with breathing room).  Let them sizzle cheerfully, until the edges curl and color, and a gilded face peers back at you when you peek under. 

While you’re waiting for that to happen, lightly crush several large garlic cloves, pressing down evenly with your palm and knife handle just until your hear a crack.  Then trim off their ends and peel them.  Once the chicken parts are gilded on the first side and you turn over all the pieces to gild the other, tuck the garlic cloves among them, to sizzle in the oil as well.  To keep the cloves from browning, you’ll need to flip them once, and you may even need to fish them out of the oil and stow them on top of the chicken until you add the wine.

Meanwhile, soak some rosemary branches in cold water.  When the chicken parts and cloves have all turned golden, shake off excess water from the rosemary branches, and tuck them in the pan among the parts.  Turn the heat up to high, and when the oil sizzles lively, pour white wine into the pan all along its circumference, to puddle under and around all the pieces.  Let the pond of wine come to a lively sizzle.  Then lower the heat to medium-low, so that the sizzling comes down to gentle but steady.  For quicker cooking and firmer flesh, lay the cover on the pan slightly ajar, and simmer cheerfully until the pieces are fork-tender (30‑40 minutes), turning once. 

But if you have the time and patience for it, simmer longer and slower for succulent meat falling off the bone.  In such slow braising, the chicken at first becomes unappetizingly steamy, soupy, and pale in the covered pan, but in the long‑run the pan juices cook down enough to allow the chicken to brown anew.  For slow‑braising, cover the pan completely for the first 30-45 minutes of (still steady) simmering, turning the chicken parts every 10‑15 minutes and releasing steam; then for the final 15-20 minutes, tilt the cover ajar if the pan juices still seem too soupy, and keep cooking until the pan soup becomes a pan sauce and the chicken meat pulls away from its bone if prodded by a fork.

In either case, when the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a platter, and add several pieces of lemon peel to the pan, along with some water, and raise the heat so as to shake the sizzling pan juices into a pan sauce.  For a rustic effect, pour the whole kit and caboodle over the chicken in the platter.  For a more refined sauce, pour it through a sieve to keep back the garlic cloves, rosemary branches, and other braising detritus.  Either way, decorate the steamy platter with a freshly redolent sprig of rosemary or two.  You’ll be wanting crusty bread to sop up that pan-sauce, needless to say.


Hunter’s Chicken Braised Blonde

*  Slice a large onion or two thinly in inch- lengths, and set aside.  Also slice carrot and celery twice as thin, and together equal in bulk to the mound of sliced onion, and set aside.
*  Salt and pepper, on both sides, skinless chicken parts, trimmed, washed, and well dried.
*  In a broad skillet, melt a wad or two of butter in a pond of regular olive oil over medium-high heat until sizzling.   Place the chicken parts in the sizzling oil and gild them on both sides.  Remove to a sautéing/braising pan.
*  Add the mound of finely sliced onion to the skillet, off heat, with a shower of salt; cover the skillet and return to medium heat.  Sweat the onion to glistening, with a flip or two in between; then remove the cover, and continue sautéing the onion, with many flippings, to blushing.
*  Add in the sliced carrot and celery with a shower of salt; cover and sweat to glistening; then uncover and sauté, flipping, to glossy.  In between, shower with fresh grindings of black pepper, and mix in fresh choppings of parsley, basil, or thyme; taste and correct for salt, needless to say.
*  Put the basing pan of chicken parts over medium heat, and turn the heat under the skillet up to high.  When the oil in the skillet sizzles lively, pour white wine all along the edge of the skillet, enough to puddle in the middle like a shallow pond.  When the wine comes to a lively sizzle, pour all out all over the chicken in the braising pan.  Turn down the heat under the braising pan to medium-low and cover.
*  Keep the wine at a gentle but steady simmer.  Either simmer the chicken with the cover ajar until it is fork-tender, or else cook it covered completely at first, turning the pieces now and again and releasing steam; tilt the pan cover ajar if the pan juices seem still too soupy after 40 minutes, and but keep cooking until the meat begins to pull away from the bone.


Rosemary Braised Chicken

*  Salt and pepper on both sides skinless chicken parts, trimmed, washed, and well dried.
*  In a broad skillet, melt a wad or two of butter in a pond of regular olive oil over medium-high heat until sizzling.   Place the chicken parts in the sizzling oil (meaty side down first) and gild them.  Then turn them over to the second side. 
*  Now tuck in among the chicken parts several whole garlic gloves, either cracked or slit.   When the cloves have gilded on one side, turn them over; when they’ve gilded on the second side, place them on top of the chicken, to keep them from browning.
*  Once the second side of the chicken parts is gilded, tuck some rosemary branches in among the parts and raise the heat to high.  When the oil sizzles lively, pour white wine all along the edge of the skillet, enough to puddle in the middle like a shallow pond under the chicken parts.  When the wine comes to a lively sizzle, turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the pan.
*  Keep the wine at a gentle but steady simmer.  Either simmer the chicken with the cover ajar until it is fork-tender, or else cook it covered completely at first, turning the pieces now and again and releasing steam; tilt the pan cover ajar if the pan juices seem still too soupy after 40 minutes, and but keep cooking until the meat begins to pull away from the bone.
*  Remove the chicken to a platter.  Add several pieces of lemon peel to the pan along with several tablespoons of water.  Turn up the heat and shake the pan juices into a pan sauce.  Pour it all over the chicken.  Remove the garlic cloves, if you wish, and rosemary stems, but garnish the platter with a fresh rosemary branches.


Pork Chops Braised Blonde

*  Use dark rib meat, not white loin meat.  Rinse and dry well with paper towels. 
*  Slice a large onion or two thinly in inch- lengths.  Then slice carrot and celery twice as thin, equal in bulk together to the mound of sliced onion.
*  Pour out a mound of flour, and mix in several tablespoons of  seasoned bread crumbs, big pinches of coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper.  Press each chop into the flour, both sides, first patting the flour in, but then shaking off excess.
*  In a broad skillet, melt a wad or two of butter in a pond of regular olive oil over medium-high heat until sizzling.   Gild the chops on both sides in the sizzling oil.  Lay them out in a sautéing/braising pan, and nestle between them green pepperoncini (banana peppers), whole, but slit to drain them of their vinegar.
*  Add the mound of finely sliced onion to the skillet, off heat, with a shower of salt; then cover the skillet and return to medium heat.  Sweat the onion to glistening, with a flip or two in between; then remove the cover, and continue sautéing the onion, with frequent flippings, to blushing.
*  Add in the sliced carrot and celery with a shower salt; cover, to sweat to glistening; uncover, to sauté, with frequent flippings, to glossy.  In between, shower with fresh grindings of black pepper and mix in fresh choppings of parsley, marjoram, or thyme; taste and correct for salt, needless to say.
*  Turn the heat under the skillet up to high.  When the oil sizzles lively, pour white wine all along the edge of the skillet, enough to puddle in the middle like a shallow pond for the vegetables.  When the wine comes to a lively sizzle, pour out the skillet over the prok chops ‘n0 peppers in the brasing pan.
*  Either place the braising pan covered in a 350 degree oven and cook until the chops are fork-tender; or else, keep the pan on the stove with the cover slightly ajar, and keep the wine in the pan at a gentle but steady simmer, flipping the chops with vegetables once or twice, until fork tender.