This recipe became a regular in our dinner rotation after I asked my husband to handle dinner one night a few years back and he found this gem. Simple, fresh and a perfect autumn evening meal - not to mention that living so close to the Rheingau means we have our choice of the very best Rieslings (note: the wine shown below is not one of the best, merely one of the cheaper, decent bottles that we often keep on hand for cooking). Added bonus: with only one cup of wine in the recipe, there's the rest of the bottle to enjoy while you cook. So pour away - and enjoy!
Chicken in Riesling
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped (about 1-2/2 cups)
2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
8 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 2-3"/ 5-8 cm pieces
1 cup dry Riesling
1 lb/ 453 g small potatoes, preferably red
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup crème fraîche
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil with one tablespoon butter in a 3-5 quart, heavy oven-proof pot over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Meanwhile, wash leeks and pat dry. Pour off fat from pot, then cook leeks, shallots and 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until leeks are pale golden (5-7 minutes). Add chicken, with any juices from plate, carrots and wine, boil until liquid is reduced by half (3-4 minutes). Cover pot and braise chicken in oven until cooked through (20-25 minutes). While chicken braises, generously cover potatoes with cold water in a 2-3 quart saucepan and add 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are just tender (about 15 minutes). Drain in a colander and return to pan. Add parsley and shake to coat. Stir crème fraîche into chicken mixture and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Add potatoes.
Makes four servings.
*Original recipe calls for whole chicken, cut up, but many reviewers complained of a resulting fatty sauce, so I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead and find the sauce perfectly light and creamy.