This chicken dish has extra-tender meat, ample vegetables, and a rich, deeply aromatic sauce abundant enough to serve with as much crusty bread as the heart desires. The keys to the layers of flavor are to brown the lardons extremely well in the beginning, season generously and often, and invest in a dry vermouth you would drink on its own over ice or in a cocktail.
From Rebekah Peppler: "There’s a reason I put this recipe on the cover. It’s everything I (and hopefully you, dear reader) want in a chicken dish: extra-tender meat, ample vegetables, and a rich, deeply aromatic sauce abundant enough to serve with as much crusty bread as the heart desires. The keys to the layers of flavor are to brown the lardons extremely well in the beginning, season generously and often, and invest in a dry vermouth you would drink on its own over ice or in a cocktail."
Photos by Joann Pai. Reprinted from A Table by Rebekah Peppler with permission by Chronicle Books, 2021.
Using only bone-in dark meat instead of the classic whole chicken cut into pieces makes the final dish richer and thicker and less likely to contain any dry meat. If you do prefer to use a whole chicken cut into pieces, add the breasts to the pot about 10 minutes after adding the dark meat.
ABOUT THE BOOK: À Table is a love note to cooking the French way, as seen through the eyes of an American expat. The 125 recipes range from Rebekah’s smart updates on French classics, such as Coq au Vermouth, Niçoise (for a Crowd), and Carrot Tarte Tatin, to recipes that deftly incorporate the flavors that define French food today like the Bigger Bánh Mì and Casse-Croûte Tunisian.
With its informed sections on stocking the pantry, prep, and, yes, pre-dinner drinks (a wink toApéritif, Rebekah’s James Beard Award-nominated first book), À Table is as much a cookbook as it is a guide to living (and thereby eating) as the French do. Rebekah isn’t shy with sharing her opinions on everything related to gathering friends around a table (for when that is safe once again), offering remarqués on snack dinner (always yes) to ice (don’t balk at bringing it) to assigned seating (hardnon).
À Table is organized thinking about the total meal, but wherein each and every recipe can find à la carte utility. There are three sections: Before (apéritifs and snacks), During (mains and sides), and After (digestifs and desserts).
3 pounds [1.4 kg] chicken legs and thighs
Fine sea salt
Ground white pepper
4 ounces [115 g] lardons or bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch [6 mm] strips
1 medium yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 medium carrots, cut into 1- to 1½-inch [2.5 to 4 cm] diagonal slices
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 ounces [230 g] cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1½ cups [360 ml] dry vermouth
2 tablespoons unsalted European butter
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Season the chicken with salt and white pepper.
- In a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add the lardons and cook, stirring occasionally, until very well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lardons to a plate. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer to the pot, working in batches as needed, and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to the platter with the lardons.
- Add the onion and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the carrots start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, mushrooms, and thyme sprigs; season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, then pour in the vermouth and increase the heat to medium-high. Return the chicken (see Note) and lardons as well as any juices on the plate to the pot, nestling them into the vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook, basting occasionally, until the chicken is very tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid, transfer the chicken to a platter, and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, then stir in the butter and lemon juice. Once the butter is melted, return the chicken to the pot for a few minutes to rewarm. Season with salt and white pepper as needed. Serve warm.
Made it? Tell us about it–