From the way they look piled in bins at the market, you might get the impression that root vegetables don't taste that much different from one another. At least that's what I thought until I really started paying attention to them.
There is remarkable nuance and variety beneath those gnarly exteriors — a realm of flavor that this one-pot chicken dinner unearths beautifully. Nutritionally, roots have a lot to offer, too, with carrots particularly high in vitamin A, and others rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, calcium and magnesium, to mention a few highlights.
You can use just about any combination of root vegetables to make this dish, but because some tend to be on the sweet side and others more savory, I suggest including each of the two categories in equal measure to balance the flavor in the pot.
Braised with chicken thighs and pearl onions (another root wonder) in a red wine, garlic and thyme-infused broth, then finished with a bright splash of vinegar, those humble vegetables shine in this rustically elegant meal. You can almost picture yourself at a French country retreat while eating it, dipping a piece of crusty baguette into the sauce between forkfuls.
While all the ingredients in the pot marry to form the mouthwatering sauce, the unique taste of each root still comes through — the perfumed richness of the rutabaga, the deep flavor of the celery root, the earthy sweetness of the parsnip. The trick is to remember to take a moment to notice once you dig in.
Red Wine-Braised Chicken Thighs With Root Vegetables
- 8 medium bone-in chicken thighs (3 pounds), skin removed
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 (14-ounce) package frozen peeled pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
- 2 cups peeled, diced carrot and/or parsnip (about 10 ounces)
- 2 cups peeled, large-diced celery root, rutabaga, and/or turnip (about 10 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1½ cups dry red wine, such as pinot noir or merlot
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the flour and ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
In a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add the remaining oil to the empty pot, followed by the onions and the diced vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally until softened slightly, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, then stir in the tomato paste and thyme. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, bay leaf and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and return to a boil.
Return the chicken, along with any accumulated juices, to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a rimmed serving plate and tent with foil. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce is reduced to about 2 cups, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, then stir in the vinegar, and season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, garnish with the parsley and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 400 calories, 34 g protein, 16 g fat, 18 g carbohydrate (9 g sugar), 124 mg cholesterol, 343 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.
Recipe from cookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.