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Our Chef's Recipes
Cut the wing tips off the birds. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbones and remove them. These can be used for stock. With a large sharp knife, cut the birds into quarters so that you have 2 leg-thigh pieces and 2 breast-wing pieces per bird. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper.
Place the leg-thigh pieces in a large non-stick skillet, skin side up. Set the cold pan over low heat and gradually increase the heat to moderately high over a period of 3 minutes. This will melt some of the fat from the chickens. Cook, turning occasionally, until all the pieces are nicely browned, about 6 minutes in total. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Meanwhile, heat ½ tabs of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the shallots and toss to coat with the oil. Cook over moderately low heat, tossing frequently, until the shallots are browned and glazed, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
In a large heavy casserole, heat the remaining 1 tabs oil over moderately low heat. Stir in the onions. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add half the wine and half the stock.
Toss the carrots and celery and add half to the casserole in an even layer. Add the reserved chicken pieces and cover with the remaining carrots and celery. Sprinkle with the thyme. Pour in the rest of the chicken stock and wine. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate the casserole and the glazed shallots separately.)
Bring chicken mixture to a simmer then place the covered casserole in the oven. Set the oven to 175C/350F and bake for 1hour. The chickens will be very tender but not overcooked.
Strain all the cooking liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over moderately high heat. Boil, skimming frequently, until the liquid reduces to 2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.
Reheat the shallots over moderate heat. When warmed through, add the cherry tomatoes and parsley and toss well. Gently stir the shallots and tomatoes into the casserole, adding the mustard and reduced stock. Reheat the fricassee over a moderately high heat until hot, 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve with Rice Pilaf.