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Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine, Tomato, Anchovies & Rosemary

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Serves 4

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks are best for braising. When chicken legs are simmered slowly, the meat becomes wonderfully tender and falls off the bone; at the same time, it develops a rich, deep flavor. In this dish, the red wine (in combination with chicken broth) adds tanginess and some welcome acidity.

  • 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 1 tsp. whole rosemary leaves
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on medium chicken thighs (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb.)
  • 4 chicken drumsticks (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 6 plum (Roma) tomatoes, peeled, cut into quarters, and seeded
  • 1 Tbs. red-wine vinegar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.

Put the anchovies, garlic, and chopped  rosemary in a food processor and process until finely chopped, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the chicken broth and process again until the ingredients are well blended, about 30 seconds.

Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. In a straight-sided 10- or 11-inch ovenproof sauté  pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan (it’ll be crowded), cover with a splatter screen, if you have one, and cook until deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until the other sides are deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Pour out and discard all the fat from the pan.

Return the pan to medium-high heat, carefully add the wine to the pan, and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour in the broth mixture. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Add the tomatoes and cover. Transfer the pan to the oven and braise until the chicken is fork-tender and the drumstick meat starts to come away from the bone, 45 to 50 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and tomato pieces to a large serving dish and keep warm by covering the dish loosely with foil. Tilt the sauté pan and skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced and full-flavored, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and whole rosemary leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

Drink Suggestions

Look for a fruity young red with vibrant acidity such as the Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 34; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 7; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): 900; Cholesterol (mg): 110; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I though this was okay, but my dad and uncle loved it. I I used Pomi chopped tomatoes since tomatoes are out of season. I boiled the sauce for about 20 minutes and added a little potato starch to thicken it up. Next time I'll add twice the amount of anchovies, because I couldn't taste them at all.

This is a go-to recipe for me. I use rosemary and Roma tomatoes from our garden, when I have them, or canned wedges when I don't. The diced ones would break up too much in the braising. I use anchovy paste and only add about a teaspoon of vinegar at the end. I serve this with a green salad and the Roasted Polenta from this recipe.

I made the recipe exactly true to the directions and the result was vile. We actually threw the chicken away & made a frozen pizza.

Looks NOTHING like the picture. I had a problem browning the chicken. It just didn't get brown. The taste is weird to me. Took a lot of time to make this and probably won't make it again. Very disappointing because the picture of it looks fabulous.

I followed the recipe pretty faithfully, with the following changes: 4 thighs, forgot the vinegar and rosemary leaves at the end, used some canned plum tomatoes & 3 very small tomatoes from our tomato plant - otherwise followed the recipe. My husband and I both found it to be extremely rich. I love wine, but I think there's too much in this recipe; 1/2 might be plenty. Also didn't like that it turned my beautifully browned thighs a deep purple (don't believe the picture - no way to keep them brown if the food is braising in red wine). Not sure if it was the amount of wine, the anchovies (never cooked with them before), or our heirloom tomatoes that made it so rich. I'll make it again with less wine, and will remember to add the vinegar at the end, maybe that will make it less rich. Served ours on polenta as others suggested. Wonderful. I also thickened the broth slightly with a corn starch slurry. Will try this one again, with changes.

I made this as close to the recipe as possible except I used more garlic and canned tomatoes that were drained. I had to use some corn starch to thicken it at the end or it would have been really watery. The flavor was just not there and frying the chicken made such a mess even with a splatter screen that it is just not worth the effort. Was hoping it was going to be a really great new recipe to serve over polenta but it was not. Won't make it again.

This was quite delicious and not hard to make. I served it the first night with egg noodles, as recommended in the recipe. The next day I served the leftovers with polenta. I thought it was much better with polenta and will definitely use that the next time I make this.

Wow. This is a real "wow" recipe. I used 2x the garlic. I used canned tomatoes since it is February. I would not add much if any vinegar at the end as it was balanced correctly already, at least in my case. I was hesitant about the anchovies at first, but they melted into the sauce and made it taste great. I found some spectacular anchovies, too, which helped, since I am not a big fan of anchovies. They are the Agostino Recca brand from Sicily. Served over egg noodles with an Italian red wine from Tuscany and a side salad. Outrageously good.

Outstanding, easy and delicious. Don't skip the anchovies - they are a perfect match for the rosemary, and make the sauce irresistibly complex. I used fire-roasted canned tomatoes instead of romas. And didn't have chicken broth, so just added a little extra wine, plus liquid from the tomatoes to make up the difference. The result -- ladled on top of a steaming bowl of soft polenta -- was excellent. I will make this again and again.

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