Friday, December 19, 2014

French onion braised chicken

Remember in college and high school when the holiday break meant at least two weeks of freedom? That's when the holidays were really fun. Two weeks of waking up and staying in your pajamas until ten in the morning, drinking eggnog, and watching holiday movies. Then we get older and we have to go to work. If we are lucky, we can squeeze in a couple of days with family doing the above mentioned activities but it's never the same.

This year I'm committed to reclaiming the holiday spirit of relaxation and merriment. I'm sitting by the tree most nights with apple cider in hand and appreciating it's loveliness. Starting Saturday through Christmas I'm committed to rocking the pjs for most of the day. I will wrap in them and bake in them. I may even go to the store in them. Judge if you will. I will make cinnamon buns, fluffy rolls, and more cookies. I will savor it all. 

In taking back the holidays, I'm making all sorts of celebratory food. This French onion braised chicken fit the bill perfectly. I love French onion soup. Crispy baguette and bubbly gruyere all floating in a nest of caramelized onions makes me happy. 

Then I saw this braised French onion chicken on the The Kitchn and I was sold. How had I not thought of this before? This makes French onion soup a more hearty meal. Braising the chicken makes it tender and the caramelized onion accompaniment gives it a richness without being heavy. Broil a little gruyere over the top and you have yourself a meal worthy of a celebration. 

French onion braised chicken
Adapted from The Kitchen, serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds yellow onions, sliced 
Pepper and salt to taste 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
2 teaspoons thyme
1 tablespoon rosemary 
2 cups chicken broth 
1 tablespoon balsamic 
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup gruyere, grated 

Melt butter in a medium oven safe saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted completely, add the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir. Cook the onion for 35-40 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 

While the onions are cooking, season your chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat in a medium saute pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook 5-6 minutes a side, until the chicken is browned on both sides. Set chicken aside on a plate. 

Using the same pan you cooked the chicken in over medium high heat add the remain 1 cup of broth and stir vigorously. Whisk in balsamic and dijon. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat.

When the onion begin to caramelize, add garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Cook for 5-10 more minutes. When onion are dark brown in color, add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Turn heat up to high and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes until it has reduced some. Take the onions off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Place the browned chicken over the onions in the saute pan. Pour over balsamic and dijon sauce. Put a lid on the saute pan and put in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and put oven on broil. Sprinkle gruyere over the top and put back in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on the oven. Once you have bubbly cheese pull out the chicken and enjoy! 

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