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Braised Chicken Pappardelle

Tender braised chicken tossed with a tarragon-cream sauce and ribbons of pappardelle makes for a delicious and decadent cold-weather meal. Look for an organic chicken for superior flavor. The addition of lemon zest and fresh herbs imparts a welcome burst of flavor to the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lb., cut into 10 pieces (2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 4 breast portions)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. each coarsely chopped fresh tarragon and chervil or flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. dried pappardelle

Directions:

Pat the chicken pieces dry. In a bag, combine the flour and 3/4 tsp. of the salt. One at a time, add the chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Remove from the bag, tapping off the excess flour.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken and sear, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and stock and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook to concentrate the flavor, about 10 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker and add the bay leaves. Stack the chicken on top. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the chicken is very tender, 5 to 6 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pull off the skin, remove the meat from the bones, and discard the bones and skin. Shred the meat and set aside to keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaves from the braising liquid. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan, set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then whisk in the cream, the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Return to a simmer and cook until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and half of the tarragon; keep the sauce warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pappardelle, stir well and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, transfer to a warmed serving bowl and add the sauce. Toss to coat evenly. Mix in the chicken, scatter the remaining herbs over the top and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2010).