Russian Cuisine

Main dishes

  Braised Chicken With Prune Sauce


A 2 1/2- to 3-pound chicken, quartered
1 tablespoon of salt, freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 carrot, scraped and cut into Ѕ-inch-wide rounds
1 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
1cup of finely chopped onions
1 sprig of parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 to 1 cup of chicken stock, fresh or canned
1 1/2cup of water
1/2 pound of prunes
1 tablespoon of fresh strained lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour

Pat the chicken thoroughly dry with paper towels, and sprinkle it on all sides the tablespoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper. In a heavy 10- to 12-inch enameled or stainless steel skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil at high heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the chicken skin-side down. Reduce the heat to moderate and fry 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer the chicken quartered to a plate. Add the carrot, celery and onions to the fat remaining in the pan and, stirring occasionally cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not brown. Return the chicken to the pan, lay the parsley and bay leaf on top and pour in 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Cover tightly and bring to a boil over high heat. Then lower the heat and simmer the chicken (basting it from time to time with the juices in the pan) for about 30 minutes, or until its juices run yellow when a thigh is pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife. Meanwhile, in a 1-quart enameled or stainless steel saucepan, combine 1? cups of water, prunes, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the prunes are tender. Set the prunes and their cooking liquid aside. Preheat the oven to 200. Remove the chicken from the skillet and arrange the pieces attractively on a large, hated, ovenproof platter. Scatter the cooked prunes over the top, cover loosely with foil and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce. Strain the contents of the skillet through a fine sieve set over a small saucepan , pressing down hard on the vegetables with the back of a spoon before discarding them. Set the juices aside. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the flour turns lightly brown. Pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved prune juice and 1/2 cup of the reserved prune juice and ? cup of the reserved pan juices (if there is less, augment it with chicken stock) and stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil until the sauce is smooth and has thickened lightly. Taste for seasoning and pour over the chicken. Serve at once.

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