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Ski Cuisine Braised Chicken

Posted on February 11, 2014

It’s not every day that you have time to let something cook on your stove for hours. That said, on a cold winter weekend, there’s nothing better. Whether you’re heading out on the ski hill or sending the kids out to enjoy an epic snowball fight, you can fill your home with the aroma of a slow cooked meal and enjoy a perfectly braised dish in time for dinner if you follow a few helpful hints.

Use the Right Cut: The technique of braising calls for cooking a large cut of meat or poultry in a small amount of liquid over a long period of time. The idea is to break down the connective tissue and cook out the fat until the meat is nice and tender. Bone-in chicken legs, briskets of beef and lamb shanks are perfect cuts that continue to tenderize as they cook. Save leaner cuts like chicken breast, flank steak or lamb chops for quick cooking on the grill or stovetop.

Get Tough Veggies: When you know you’ll cook something for a long time, it makes sense to add ingredients that either breakdown into the sauce like tomatoes or peppers or those that hold their shape like turnips, carrots and parsnips.

Know When to Cover: Technically, braising calls for covering your pan or pot, but that’s not always ideal. Since you’re cooking in a small amount of liquid, covering your pan steams the ingredients that are not covered completely by the liquid itself. For cuts of meat that do not gain anything from a crisp or seared exterior, covering is fine. If you prefer to crisp the skin on braised chicken legs or another cut, cook your dish uncovered in a low oven and just check periodically that your sauce does not over-reduce.

When in Doubt Go Long: One of the best parts about braising is that it is an extremely forgiving technique. Sure you can set a timer and finish cooking when your recipe says to do so, but if you go a few minutes over, it’ll be fine. If you’re concerned that your meat is still not as tender as you’d like it to be, just keep cooking. As long as you keep your liquid levels in check, every extra minute will add tenderness to your dish.

Honey Turnip Braised Chicken

1 Tbsp. olive oil

4 FreeBird chicken legs, split

salt and pepper to taste

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 turnips, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 cup dried currants

1/4 cup white wine

2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 cups water

Heat oil in a large high-sided sauté pan over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place into pan skin-side down. Brown chicken on both sides, then transfer to a clean plate.

Cook carrots, celery, turnips and garlic in oil until lightly golden. Stir in currants, wine, honey, paprika and cinnamon. Transfer chicken back into pan and pour in water until chicken is submerged about halfway in liquid. (You may need a little more or less water depending on the size and shape of your pan.)

Place pan in 400ºF oven and cook for an hour. Serves 4-6.