Portuguese Braised Chicken

Years ago, a dear friend returning from Portugal gave Hubby and I a beautiful bottle of wine from his family’s vineyard. We decided to honor the wonderful gift by serving it with an authentic Portuguese meal. Our friend (a chef in his own right) was kind enough to share his recipe for braised chicken. It was scrumptious! Perfect for casual outdoor entertaining.

For super-casual dining, set your patio table with room in the center for the cooking pan. Toss a nice salad, chill a couple of bottles of wine. Light a few candles nearby to set the mood. And don’t forget to serve with plenty of warm, crusty bread to soak up all the wonderful juices. Diners can place the chicken on their plates to enjoy, then dip their bread into the pan for all that wonderful sauce – just no double dipping!

The pan I use is for this dish very old – and I love it! It belonged to my mother. My father had it hanging on a hook in his garage – it’s far too large to fit into most cupboards. There it was, collecting dust for years. When I saw it, I knew it was perfect for this style cooking – with a long handle on one end and a short “U” handle on the other. And it just barely fits in the oven. I don’t own a lid large enough to fit the pan, so I use a large pizza pan. You would think they were made for each other!

Galinha Assada Português – Portuguese Braised Chicken
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 chicken, about 3- to 3 1/4-pounds, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
4 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto, chopped
12 pearl onions, blanched 1 minute, peeled
2 large roasted red peppers from jar, halved, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
6 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
4 large fresh bay leaves, bruised
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Port
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature (optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in large bowl. Add chicken pieces to seasoned flour, 1 at a time, and turn to coat. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and sauté until brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate; reserve skillet.

Add wine and port to reserved skillet. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Remove from heat. Whisk in mustard and tomato paste. Pour mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

Arrange chicken in single layer in the skillet. Top with tomatoes and juice, Prosciutto, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon paprika. Pour wine mixture over chicken and bring to boil. Cover; transfer to oven.

Braise chicken until very tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves and parsley. Using tongs, transfer chicken and toppings to a large sheet of foil and close to keep warm, retaining the sauce in pan. Return sauce to the stove and simmer to reduce. If a thicker sauce is desired, stir 1 tablespoon flour and butter in small bowl until smooth paste forms. Add flour paste to sauce and whisk to blend. Simmer until sauce thickens to desired consistency, whisking often. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken to the pan, tip and spoon sauce over chicken. Serve directly from the pan.

Note: For a less casual dining experience, transfer chicken to a large rimmed serving platter. Take care to keep topping intact. Spoon sauce from pan over chicken and serve.

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