Welcome back to the Stark Naked Cooking Blog! I know, I know, I kind of derailed with posts towards the end of last year — bad Victoria. However, I’m back, better than ever, and am SUPER excited about what’s to come this year! I’ve got some wonderfully delicious recipes I’ve been working on over the winter and can’t wait to share them with you all! Dare I say “Y’all“? Oh, I dare!
To kick off the year, we are going to start with one of my favorite meals to make: Red Wine-Braised Chicken Legs with Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes! A hot spin on a comfort food dish that will warm your insides during the cold weather and elevate your dinner routine. Basically, you can feel fancy making this Coq au Vin-inspired dish, without having to put a whole hell of a lot of effort into it.
Just start with seasoned chicken legs that you brown in a braising pot for a few minutes on each side — you’ll have to do this in batches. This allows the chicken to get crispy and adds a bit of flavor to the dish. Remove the chicken from the pan and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and start cooking your onions, garlic, and thyme. This adds aromatic properties to the dish. YUM!
Once those start to become translucent, you deglaze your pan OFF HEAT with the red wine. Doing this off of the burner is crucial, as you have the potential for the alcohol to catch fire and do something called “flambé“. And while that can be a really amazing technique for certain dishes — like making the filling for Crepes de Normande (hint.. hint.. a dish that may come up in the future?!), when you have to burn off the alcohol — if not done properly, you can flambé your face. Which is frowned upon. (Too soon?)
Anywho, once you have deglazed your pan with the red wine, add the chicken broth and the seared chicken legs, ensuring that the legs are about 3/4 of the way covered with the braising liquid. Put a lid on it, and let simmer on medium heat for about an hour, until you test the meat with an instant-read thermometer and it reads 160 F.
Note: Rule of thumb for poultry is to have the meat cooked through to 165 F. The reason I turn off the heat when the chicken reaches 160 F is to account for carryover cooking — when an item will continue cooking, even after the heat source is off. If we wait to remove the chicken from the pan until it reaches 165 F, the carryover cooking could end up making the chicken keep cooking until about 170 F and cause for a drier result. We are going for tender, moist chicken, so the pan gets turned off when the chicken reaches 160 F.
While the chicken is simmering, move forward to making the creamy garlic mashed potatoes. My rule of thumb for garlic mashed potatoes is that the more garlic, the better. Not everyone agrees with this mindset (blasphemous!). If you happen to like a lighter dosing of garlic, just half the quantities I provide below.
Wash and cut your potatoes. You can peel them if you’d like, or you can leave them whole. Chef’s choice! And since you are cooking, you are the chef! Once you have cut your potatoes, add them to a 2-quart saucepot and cover with water until the potatoes are just covered. Add some kosher salt and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and let cook until the potatoes are able to be pressed to the side of the pot and smashed easily, roughly 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then add them back to the pot from whence they came. Mash them with a potato masher and then add the butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and Greek yogurt. Stir together with a high-heat spatula and taste test. Add more seasoning as needed, then stir again.
Once you are done with the mashed potatoes and the chicken, make your pan sauce. In a small saucepan put 1 cup of the braising liquid and heat it on medium-high. Let it reduce by half, then add a few pats of butter to thicken the sauce. The sauce should be thick enough to lightly cover the back of the spoon.
To serve, spoon the creamy mashed potatoes onto a plate, then add 2 to 3 drumsticks, and then top with the red wine pan sauce!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please feel free to share your pictures of your own Red Wine-Braised Chicken Legs with Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes on Instagram and tag me @starknakedcooking! I’d love to see how they come out!
As always, thank you for cooking with me on Stark Naked Cooking and have a wonderful week! Until next weekend, when our food adventure continues!
- 4 lbs. chicken legs
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium-diced
- 1/2 small red onion, small-diced (can use a shallot instead)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (2-3 sprigs)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 6-8 cups chicken stock
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Rinse chicken legs and pat dry with paper towel. Using a clean cutting board, cut the yellow and red onion and mice the garlic for both the chicken and mashed potatoes. Divide the garlic up into two equal portions.
- Next, using an 6-quart braising pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. While the sauté pan is heating up, season chicken legs all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Feel free to use more or less salt and pepper, depending on your tastes.
- Once the oil is simmering -- test by gently dipping the edge of drum-portion of the leg into oil, if it sizzles, you are good to sear the drumsticks in the pot -- sear each side of the drumstick until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Once browned, turn off heat, remove chicken from pot, and place on aluminum-lined baking sheet.
- Add the yellow onion and red onion to the pot that the chicken came out of and stir with a high-heat rubber spatula, constantly moving, until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. The residual heat from the oil will gently sauté the onions.
- Next, turn the heat back on, to medium-low, and add 1 tablespoon thyme and 3 cloves of minced garlic, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
- Then lift the skillet from the stovetop and add 1 cup of red wine -- this makes sure that the alcohol doesn’t cause the dish to flambé , which would be bad for your eyebrows -- and stir. Reduce by half the liquid in the pot and then add 4 cups of chicken stock.
- Add chicken back to the saucier, making sure all of the drumsticks are at least covered 3/4 of the way. If they are not covered a majority of the way, then add in more red wine and broth until they are.
- Cover with a lid and let simmer on medium heat for an hour, until the chicken legs reach 160 F when checked with an instant-read thermometer.
- About 30 minutes into the chicken simmering, prepare the mashed potatoes. Wash and scrub the potatoes in water. Peel and then cut into a large dice -- 1-inch x 1-inch.
- In a 2-quart sauce pot, place the cut potatoes and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, then cover with enough water that the potatoes are completely covered. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer until potatoes are tender when you poke them with a fork, 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat then strain using a colander. Put the potatoes back into the pot they were cooked in and then mash with a potato masher. If you don't have a masher, the back of a fork works just as well!
- Next, add 3 tablespoons butter, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and mash the potatoes again, until thoroughly combined. Put a lid on the pot and put to the side of the stove.
- After the mashed potatoes are made, make the red wine pan sauce. Using a heat-resistant measuring cup, measure 1 cup of the red wine braising liquid that the chicken was cooked in. Put it in a small saucepan and cook on medium-high heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes, until reduced by half.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir with a high-heat spatula to incorporate the butter into the pan sauce. The sauce is ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
- Serve the braised chicken legs over the garlic mashed potatoes and top with the red wine pan sauce, to taste. Enjoy!