by Sara Foster, Foster’s Market, Durham, North Carolina
Once you get this dish started, it basically cooks itself in the oven, while you prepare for guests to arrive. It can also sit for a while, or be reheated easily, so you don’t have to worry about last-minute cooking after the party starts.
- 1 (4- to 4½-pound) whole Smart Chicken, cut into 8 pieces*
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup dry red or white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 handfuls baby spinach or kale
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- *A chicken cut into eight pieces yields: Four breast pieces (two half breasts cut crosswise with wings attached), two legs, and two thighs. Cutting the breast in half crosswise makes for more even cooking and more consistently sized pieces. Discard the backbone or save it for making stock.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until sizzling hot. Add the chicken in batches, if needed, so as not to crowd the skillet, and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook and stir until the vegetables are tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and cook and stir about 1 minute more. Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and cook until it reduces slightly, about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach and parsley. Nestle the chicken and any juices that have collected on the plate into the broth and place in the oven about 50 minutes, basting the chicken with the wine several times while cooking.