My brother and his wife came over for dinner last night so I knew I wanted an easy, one pot meal that would simmer away while we could catch up. I knew I had some chicken thighs hiding out in my fridge somewhere, so I dusted off my “Essential Pepin” cookbook to see what the master, Jacques, had to say on the matter. I found a classic French recipe, Chicken Chasseur (“hunter” in French), which typically uses poultry, mushrooms, tomato, and garlic; all things I had on hand. Perfect.
I went with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, crimini mushrooms, and a can of tomatoes, but you can always substitute or switch up some ingredients depending on the seasons and what you feel like. If it’s the middle of the summer, why not use some beautiful, ripe tomatoes instead of canned and if you want some extra moisture to your meat, go for skin on and bone in. I always look at recipes as guidelines, never hard and fast rules. I served my hunter chicken over some boiled potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, but you could go with rice, crusty thick sliced bread, pasta, greens, whatever will soak up or compliment those nice flavours you will develop.
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs
1 leek, trimmed, washed and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp All-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1 can tomatoes, in juice
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 to 3 cups mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat and, after seasoning with salt and pepper, add your chicken thighs. I only cooked 4 at a time, so as not to crowd the pan*. Brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, and remove to a separate plate. Sear the remaining 4 thighs, transferring to the side plate after browned.
In the same pan, add your leeks and onion and saute for about a minute. Add the flour and give it a good stir to coat your vegetables and to not burn to the bottom of your pan. Cook for about 30 seconds, and then deglaze with your wine and tomatoes. Scrape up any nice brown bits that may have cooked onto the base of the pan, as these will add depth and flavour to your broth.
Add back the chicken pieces, the garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil, stirring gently to avoid scorching. Reduce the heat to a light simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes. Taste your sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
One Pot Meals
For the win!
When your sauce is reduced to your desired consistency, turn off the heat and serve! Some fresh chopped parsley or tarragon would be a great addition to sprinkle on at the end.
*When browning meat, you always want to make sure you don’t crowd your pan so you get good colour on all sides. If you put too much in at once, you end up steaming your food instead of searing and the tasty brown bits I mentioned before will never happen. Better to take your time and cook in batches, instead of rushing and creating a less than spectacular meal.