Braising Contest Honorable Mentions 2007: Aaron's Kitchen Raid Braise

(Last week we announced that we would be awarding nineteen Honorable Mentions in our Braising Contest. All of these entrants will be receiving an Apartment Therapy T-Shirt. Over the next week or so we will now try to methodically and swiftly present them all to you with all the winning photos and recipes. Another cold week here in NYC: braise on!)

Aaron's Kitchen Raid Braise

Image Credit: Apartment Therapy

Best Zen Meal

Recipe after the jump...

Image Credit: Apartment Therapy

Aaron's Kitchen Raid Braise

I had most of these things laying around/leftover from other endeavors, so whatever you've got is best. Vaguely original, inspired by a recipe from the book Cucina Ebraica (Joyce Goldstein) on Italian Jewish cooking from what I recall.

1 whole chicken or whatever chicken parts you want
2 sun dried tomato basil sausages, sliced on the bias
2 onions, half-mooned
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Red pepper, cut in batons
A carrot, diced/chopped/whatever
3 shiitake mushrooms, cut in batons
Some tomato paste
A few handfuls kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
The right amount of basil, chiffonade
1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, chopped + juices reserved
A few healthy splashes of wine (I used a Portuguese Douro that set me back a whole $6.99, more than drinkable and proof of today's Times article that you don't need high quality to get good results. Drank it while enjoying the results of course)
Crushed/slivered almonds

Season and brown the chicken with olive oil in whatever you use for braising. I use a cheap soup pot. Obviously this situation needs to be rectified (hint hint). Do in batches so as to not crowd the pot as per usual for browning and set aside. Pour out some fat/oil from the pan and throw in the sausages to brown. Remove when those are browned.

Throw in onions, garlic, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and carrot. Season and sauté until it's nice and soft, golden, and yummy.

Push to the side and add in tomato paste to now empty side of pot. "Flip", cooking some more. I learning this from my good friend Lidia (Bastianich) last week, this was my first time implementing. Seems to have worked well.

Splash in the wine, deglazing the pan and letting some of the alkeyhol boil off. Add tomatoes, basil, and olives, and, oh hell, some more wine. Season, and bring to a boil. Add chicken and sausage back in, reduce heat, and cover. Cook until chicken is done and tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces, increase heat and boil down the delicious braising liquid a bit. Adjust for seasoning. Spoon over chicken and finish with a sprinkling of the almonds. Good with a side of toasted quinoa, chilled blanched broccoli tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, and of course whatever wine you used in the braise.

Leftovers tip: Shred the chicken and mix in with the sauce. Yum.