This is the best chicken dish I’ve ever made. No preamble, because its awesomeness needs none. I saw this dish in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and knew immediately I had to make it. The dish is actually called “Oh My God Chicken,” amusingly. It’s a delicate flavour dance of chicken-y chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, and the richness that multiple deglazings impart. White wine, green onions, and leeks add an additional richness and complexity of flavour. The secret ingredient? A pound of bacon. 🙂
The chicken is fricasseed, which is simpler than it sounds. You simply brown the chicken in a pan, using bacon fat in this case, and finish cooking the chicken in a sauce. The sauce here is made by deglazing the pan you used to brown the chicken and cooking a medley of vegetables therein, deglazing periodically to both prevent blackening and boost flavour compounds. The chicken is returned to this sauce to finish cooking, and then this selfsame sauce is poured over the dish at the end. Each serving of chicken is garnished with chopped bacon, cilantro, chopped tomato, and bits of green onion. I think sour cream would not be out of place here as well; but for my dairy allergies, I would have served this dish with sour cream!
Normally chicken isn’t usually on the short list of special dishes to serve fancy company, but this dish is an exception. They could serve this as the entrée at a black tie reception, and guests would be wowed. Yes, it’s that good. Happy fricasseeing! 😉
Oh My God Chicken
12 oz. bacon, chopped
8 – 12 garlic cloves, peeled
3 – 7 lbs. boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
1 shallot, minced
1 onion, minced
1 – 3 leeks, finely chopped
1 – 4 zucchini, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 orange bell pepper, minced
2 c. chicken broth (may need more, depending on how much chicken you’re using)
2 c. Chardonnay, plus more for deglazing
3 – 6 bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 – 2 TBS lime or lemon juice
For the garnish:
2 tomatoes, diced
Cook bacon in 12 quart Dutch oven. Transfer bacon to plate, leaving fat in pot. Deglaze if fond is looking too dark. Add garlic and cook until golden-brown, about 3 – 5 minutes. Transfer garlic to large bowl. Turn off heat underneath pot.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat fat in pot until just smoking. Cook chicken on medium-high heat in batches, browning both sides of each chicken piece until golden brown. Do not overcrowd pan. Transfer chicken to bowl with garlic as it completes browning.
Deglaze pot, if needed, and add vegetables. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken broth, wine, bay leaves, and thyme, scraping up fond from bottom of pot. Add chicken, garlic, and accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat and cover. Cook until chicken registers 175°F, about 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken to plates and tent loosely with foil. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, continue to cook sauce until it thickens slightly. Stir in lime or lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Drizzle each serving with sauce from the pot, discarding thyme sprigs and bay leaves as needed. Top with reserved bacon, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Source: Heavily adapted from America’s Test Kitchen: Best-Ever Lost Recipes (January 2018 issue)