A Summer's Braise

It's a vivid statement about our desert weather when one opens the oven door and can't tell whether it's cooler in there… or outdoors.

Happily, for me, air conditioning means hot weather doesn't stop me from cranking the oven on occasion to make something wonderful.

Today's recipe from Cheri, at My Savory Spoon, is a case on point. It requires oven time… even though it is really hot out there!

Cheri and her husband are lucky to enjoy mild summers in the Pacific Northwest and mild winters in Phoenix - less than two hours away from us in Tucson. We have plans to meet in person before too long. Right about now - when the temperatures in Phoenix have been hovering at about 120° - I bet she is pretty happy to be up north!

Not long ago, she posted a recipe for her braised chicken with white beans and chard. I made it the next day, and that proved to be the first of many times…

… even twice in the same week for two dinner parties! Every time I have made it, outdoor temperatures were over 110°F (43°C)! Yes, it is that good - worth every degree of heat rolling from the oven.

Rune Wines have wonderfully imaginative labels!
Most recently, I served it with a local - yes, Arizona! - rosé that was given to me by James Callahan of Rune Wines for my monthly food and wine pairing. This rosé is made in the Rhone tradition (Rune is member of the Rhone Rangers) so it is appropriate for my pairing post. To read more about the vineyard and the wine, head over to the Provence WineZine.

I assure you that you will no regrets about heating up your kitchen for this recipe! My readers south of the equator may find it the perfect dish for the current season.

Stay cool!

~ David

Braised Chicken with White Beans and Chard
adapted from Cheri’s recipe on My Savory Spoon

4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bunch chard - about 1/2 pound
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken broth
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 350 °

Trim chicken pieces of excess fat and skin, then pat dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot add the oil, swirl the pan to coat the bottom, then add chicken, skin-side down, and sear until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and brown the other side, about another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and pancetta and sauté until onion is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with white wine then add the white beans, chard, and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the chard. Add any accumulated juices from the chicken, top with the rosemary sprigs, and bring to a boil. Cover and bake about 25 minutes - up to 30 minutes for larger pieces of chicken.

To serve, layer chard and beans in soup plates then top with chicken. Sprinkle the top with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serves 4.

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