- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 large celery ribs, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- Cream Biscuits, unbaked
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add half of it to the casserole in a single layer. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a large platter. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock to the casserole and scrape up all of the browned bits stuck to the bottom; strain the deglazed drippings into a small heatproof bowl and wipe out the casserole. Repeat with the remaining oil, chicken and another cup of stock; add to the reserved pan juices in the bowl.
- Add the bacon to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the platter.
- Pour 4 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a small skillet. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Add the brandy and cook until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 6 cups of stock and the thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and bacon to the casserole along with the 2 cups of deglazed drippings and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat for 30 minutes. Whisk in the bacon fat and flour paste and cook until the sauce has thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Pour the chicken stew into a shallow 3-quart baking dish; discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Arrange the unbaked Cream Biscuits on top of the stew and bake in the upper third of the oven until the biscuits are golden and and the stew is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve.
The chicken stew can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat the stew thoroughly before proceeding.
Pair the dish with a Sangiovese blend with rich caramel notes.