This is one of our favorite recipes from Julia Child's classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Remove the rind of and cut the bacon into lardons (rectangles 1/4-inch across and 1 inch long). Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Rinse in cold water, drain and pat dry.
Slowly sauté the bacon in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.
Dry the chicken thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, then brown it in the hot fat in the casserole.
Sprinkle the bacon into the casserole with the chicken. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.
Uncover, pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.
Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock or bouillon to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a dish.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms (see the recipes in the notes below).
Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for a minute or two, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.
Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste (buerre manie). Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
Arrange the chicken in the casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. If this dish is not to be served immediately, film the top of the sauce with stock or dot with small pieces of butter. Set aside uncovered or cool to room temperature and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Shortly before serving, bring the casserole to a simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through.
Serve from the casserole, or arrange on a hot platter. Garnish with chopped parsley
Sautéed Mushrooms - Champignons Sautés Au Buerre
From the Classic Mastering the Art of French
A 10" Enameled Skillet
2 tablespoons of Butter
1/2 lb. fresh Mushrooms - washed, well dried and sliced or quartered if they are large
Cooking 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon oil 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large 1 to 2 tablespoons minced shallots or green onions (optional) Salt and pepper Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating that it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their sauté the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Toss the shallots or green onions with the mushrooms. Sauté over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Sautéed mushrooms may be cooked in advance, set aside, then reheated when needed. Season to taste just before serving.
Brown-braised Onions - Oignons Glacés a Brun
From the Classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking
For 18 to 24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
A 9- to 10-inch enameled skillet
1/2 cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine or water
Salt and pepper to taste
A medium herb bouquet: 3 parsley springs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon thyme tied in cheesecloth
When the butter and oil are bubbling the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.
Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet. Serve them as they are.