6 large garlic cloves, smashed
4 whole black peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
1 fresh bay leaf
7 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves separated
2 whole skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces pearl onions, peeled
12 ounces white button mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons Cognac
1 cup dry red wine
3 1/4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (page 179), or low-sodium
canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. Make a bouquet garni: Using a small piece of cheesecloth, wrap
3 garlic cloves, the peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, and parsley stems;
tie in a bundle with kitchen twine. Set aside.
2. Cut chicken into strips about 2 inches long and 3/4 inches wide;
set aside. In a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon
oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and remaining 3 garlic cloves;
cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add mushrooms; cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a
3. Add butter and remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Season chicken
strips with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, cook chicken
until browned, about 1 minute per side. Return chicken to skillet.
Add Cognac and wine; deglaze pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to
scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in chicken stock
and tomato paste. Add bouquet garni. Bring to a boil; reduce heat
to a simmer, and cook, covered,15 minutes. Add reserved mushrooms,
onions, and garlic; cook 5 minutes more.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a
bowl. Discard bouquet garni. Over high heat, reduce stock by half,
about 12 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon
water. Pour mixture into stock, and stir until incorporated. Cook
2 minutes. Return chicken and vegetables to pot, and cook over medium-low
heat until warmed through. Chop parsley leaves, and stir into chicken
mixture. Serve stew immediately, garnished with thyme.
HOW TO DEGLAZE A PAN
Deglazing a pan is a technique using a liquid such as wine or stock
to loosen the browned, caramelized bits of food or fat that remain
in the pan after cooking. Once a pan has been deglazed, the remaining
liquid can be used as a sauce to accompany the food you have cooked.
To deglaze a pan, add wine, such as a Madeira, or homemade or low-sodium
canned chicken stock, skimmed of any fat. Stir with a wooden spoon
until the liquid reduces and is thick enough to coat the back of