Braising is traditionally considered a wintertime activity, which is a shame because braised meats are delicious any time of year. When you think about it, braising is basically a reverse-reverse sear. On an outdoor grill, you’d traditionally reverse sear meats by cooking them slowly over a low heat before giving them a quick blast of direct high heat at the end of the process to create that desirable crispy seared exterior. In a braise, you start out with a good sear on the outside of whatever meat you’re cooking followed by a long simmer in a little bit of braising liquid under a lower temperature.
So if you love to grill out during the spring and summer (especially chicken!), you can accomplish almost the same thing in your oven on a rainy day or in a kettle or kamado grill if you definitely want to get a little fresh air while you’re cooking. Chef Trey Cioccia is a master at cooking over open fire at his Nashville restaurant Black Rabbit and using more traditional techniques to create fantastic elevated Southern comfort food dishes at his other spot, The Farm House in SoBro.
So when we were looking for a new way to prepare some Springer Mountain Farms drumsticks, Trey was out first thought. Chicken legs are ideal for both grilling and braising because dark meat doesn’t have the tendency to dry out during a longer cook time like white meat poultry or other cuts of meat. Plus, a perfectly-cooked chicken leg is a thing of beauty with tender meat ready to fall off the bone and just enough fat to carry the flavor. Even better, it’s the ultimate portable food so you can take it with you six feet away from whoever else you’re eating with.
Trey developed this recipe for white wine braised chicken legs as a nightly special on his curbside-to-go menu that he offers from The Farm House Tuesday through Saturday from noon until 7:30 pm. If you live in Nashville and have a hankering for someone else to do the cooking, check out his nightly menu and you’ll be the hero of your household! Or if you want to prepare an easy and delicious meal in your home kitchen, grab a pack of Springer Mountain Farms chicken legs and follow along with Trey’s recipe.
White Wine Braised Chicken Legs
4 SMF chicken legs
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup red onion small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350°.
Put a sauté pan on high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper.
Add legs to the pan and sear on all sides until you get a nice golden sear, then reduce heat to medium.
Add herbs, red onion, and garlic and sweat all in the pan for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced, by half then the stock and lemon
Place pan in the oven until the chicken registers 161° on an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the leg. Remove the pan from the oven and the chicken on a serving plate, after removing the herbs and lemon.
Place the broth back on the stove and reduce until sec (nearly dry.) Remove from heat and swirl in 3 tablespoons of butter. Taste the pan sauce and season it to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over the legs and serve family-style.