The dish is superb with any side-dish starch that features a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
6 large chicken thighs, bone-in
salt and pepper to taste
5 garlic cloves, peeled
all-purpose flour for dredging
2 1/4-inch-thick slices of slab bacon (about 1/4 pound), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fruity red wine, such as young Beaujolais
1/2 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon arrowroot dissolved in 2 teaspoons cold water
3/4 cup drained and chopped canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1. In a small bowl let the porcini soak in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain them well, strain the liquid, and reserve.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Chop 2 of the garlic cloves, adding a little salt, until a rough paste is formed. Cut a horizontal slit in each thigh, just above the bone, and divide the garlic-salt paste evenly among the 6. Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour, shaking off the excess. In a large, heavy skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until it is golden and crisp. Transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels. To the skillet, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook it, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until it is golden and crisp. Transfer the chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate, season it with salt, and discard the fat in the skillet.
3. Mince the remaining 3 garlic cloves. Add the olive oil to the skillet, and cook the garlic over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the reserved porcini liquid, wine, broth, and the 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Increase the heat to high, and boil for 5 minutes. Add the arrowroot mixture in a stream, stirring. Stir in the tomatoes and add the chicken, turning it to coat with the sauce. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the porcini and bacon, and simmer, covered, over low heat for about 10 more minutes (do not allow the sauce to become too thick).
4. When ready to serve, stir in the 1 tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar, season to taste, and sprinkle the dish with the chopped parsley.
These fabulous thighs get browned in a pan, then simmered with balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and porcini; use inexpensive balsamic for the braising and a little of the expensive stuff for finishing the sauce. The dish is superb with any side-dish starch that features a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano (such as polenta, rice, or potatoes). Serves 6