I buy chicken legs and thighs whenever they’re on sale because I prefer dark meat and I’m always looking for new ways to use them. This recipe is one of my favorites. You might think it’s too heavy for warmer weather but you’d be wrong. It’s hearty but not heavy, and like most tomato-based dishes, tastes even better the second or third day. A traditional ragù usually includes white wine, so if you want to go for it, stir in 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine while chicken is simmering. — L. Weal
1/2 pound bacon, diced
6 chicken thighs and/or legs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
5 whole baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 cups tomato sauce or marinara sauce
2 cups chicken stock
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
large (5-quart) pot or (12-inch) sauté pan
measuring cups and spoons
1. Cook diced bacon in pot over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove and set aside.
2. Add chicken to pot and sauté in the bacon fat until browned — about 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. Drain fat from pot except for approximately 3 tablespoons.
3. Add chopped garlic, onion, carrots, mushrooms, along with rosemary, sage, and celery seed to pot. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender — about 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato sauce and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium until mixture boils.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return chicken to pot. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
6. Stir in olives and cooked bacon and cook until heated through — about 5 minutes.
NOTES & TIPS
• If using fresh celery, substitute 1/2 cup chopped fresh celery for the celery seed.
• If chicken legs are large, try not to crowd the pan. Cook them in batches, so that each piece browns evenly.
• Serve with wide egg noodles or rice.
• If using wine, don’t buy the ‘cooking wine’ from the supermarket. Use the kind of wine you like to drink.
3 — 4 servings