Here's a New England favorite: chicken stewed with apple cider along with rutabaga, parsnips, and carrots. It's a healthy, hearty perk-up, a lovely dinner for whenever the air is crisp. For about 4 to 6 servings, here's how it goes:
First, make sure your large pot or Dutch oven can fit in your oven once you put the pot's lid on. You need two to three inches of head space for good air flow. Set the rack accordingly, although you don't want it on the very bottom rung of the oven.
Now preheat the oven to 325F (165 C).
Set that pot or Dutch oven (uncovered) over medium heat on top of the stove. Brown 2 ounces (55 grams) cubed slab bacon. Let the pieces get good and crunchy, rendering out their fat--because this is the fat for the recipe to follow. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon bits to a big bowl.
Brown one 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 or 9 pieces. Really brown it. Seriously. And work in stages, half the pieces at a time. That's the secret to this dish, the very essence of the flavor. What's more, you can pop chicken pieces off a hot surface once the sugars have caramelized. Before that, they stick and tear. So let them go. Check out the color on ours.
Use that slotted spoon to transfer the chicken pieces to that same big bowl.
Add 1 chopped, large, yellow onion and 2 minced, medium garlic cloves to the pot. Stir over the heat for a couple of minutes, until the onion turns translucent.
Then add 1 diced, peeled, medium rutabaga (sometimes called a "yellow turnip"); 3 sliced, peeled, medium parsnips; and 2 sliced, peeled, medium carrots. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 3 cups (700 ml) fat-free, salt-free chicken broth, 1 cup (240 ml) no-sugar-added apple cider, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves, 2 tablespoons minced sage leaves, 1 tablespoon stemmed thyme leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring all that to a simmer over medium-high heat. Then nestle the chicken pieces and bacon bits back into the liquid, covering them fairly well. Pour in any accumulated juices in the bowl. Cover the pot and set it in the oven. Bake until the chicken is falling-off-the-bone tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
And that's it. New England comfort in a bowl. What could be better?