Poulet au Gruyere
Seared chicken thighs and peas are simmered in a flavorful base of pancetta, garlic, and vermouth, before being topped with Gruyere cheese and baked until golden-brown for a speedy take on a French classic.
- 2 - 3 ounces pancetta (pancetta cubetti or bacon, snipped into small pieces)
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 pounds chicken thighs boneless, skinless (or 6 - 8 thighs)
- 3/4 cup extra dry white vermouth
- 1/4 t-spoon English mustard powder
- 3 cups frozen peas
- 6 ounces Gruyere grated or shredded
- Scant 1 t-spoon kosher salt
- A few grinds black pepper
- A few grates nutmeg (freshly grated recommended)
- Preheat oven to 400°
- In a large braising pan, cook the pancetta or bacon on the stovetop until crisped and all their oils have oozed into the pan. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Pad the chicken dry and season with some of the salt. Add the butter to the pan and quickly, but carefully, add in the chicken (what was) skin side down, and cook until deeply browned, about 3 – 5 minutes. Flip over and sear just another minute or two. If it helps to do this in two batches, feel free.
- Once you flip the chicken, drop in the sliced garlic and sauté in the spaces between the chicken thighs, moving it around constantly to keep from burning – less than a minute.
- Mix the vermouth and mustard powder in a measuring cup, and pour into the pan to deglaze before dropping in the frozen peas. Sprinkle everything with a little more salt. Place in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is perfectly cooked through.
- After the 15 minutes is up, remove the pan from the oven, scatter in the pancetta/bacon, sprinkle generously with the Gruyere, and top off with a good grinding of black pepper and a light snow of grated nutmeg. Return to the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese, before serving as quickly as possible.
- If the peas go into the pan before they've completely thawed they'll stay a bright green during cooking (just rinse them until cold water for a bit to remove excess ice). If they're thawed, their color mutes a little (not a bad thing--it doesn't affect the taste).