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Italian Chicken Stew

Prepare this comforting stew in a slow cooker, which ensures the meat will emerge tender and full flavored. Accompany with wide pappardelle pasta to soak up the savory sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • 3 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lb., cut into 10 pieces and patted dry
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Pappardelle pasta for serving

Directions:

In a small bowl, soak the saffron in the 3 Tbs. wine for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces one at a time and toss to coat evenly. Remove the chicken from the bag and tap off the excess flour.

In the stovetop-safe insert of a slow cooker over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches, sear the chicken, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off most of the fat from the insert and set the insert over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the 1/3 cup wine and the stock and bring to a rapid simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer the insert to a slow-cooker base. Stir in the tomatoes, the saffron mixture and 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 platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Discard the bay leaves. Stir the vinegar into the sauce. Let stand for a few minutes, then skim off the fat. Serve the chicken and sauce with pasta. Serves 6.

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