Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Bacon

As I try to become a better cook, I look for recipes with techniques I haven’t tried.  This one called for braising, which I had never done, and included bacon, mushrooms, red wine, and pearl onions.  I love all of those things!  The dish has amazing flavor, and is a perfect hearty dinner for chilly fall nights.  You’ll dirty a few dishes, but it’s definitely worth it!

Since you can make this in a braising pan as well, I’m submitting it to the November Tasty Tools at Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.
(adapted from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider)
Mushrooms:
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed and chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tbsp dry white wine
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
black pepper

Chicken:
20 pearl onions, peeled
2 thick slices bacon, diced
3 tbsp flour
1 3-lb chicken, skinned and cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup port
1 1/2 cups dry red wine

To make the mushrooms:
Heat the oil in a skillet until hot.  Add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and thyme, and saute for about 3 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the wine, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 or 15 minutes.  

To make the chicken:
Cook the bacon in a small skillet over low heat, for about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon grease.
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper
Spread the flour on a plate and dip each piece of chicken in it, shaking off any excess.
Heat the bacon grease over medium-high in a dutch oven or other large, heavy pan.  Saute the chicken in batches until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a platter.
Add the port and wine and cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced slightly.  
Turn the heat to medium-low.
Stir in the bacon and pearl onions and add a few pinches of salt.
Add the chicken pieces and cook, partially covered, for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces to a serving dish and keep warm.  Simmer the sauce until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms during the last 3 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

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