My Itinerary:



Char-Braised Chicken and Mushrooms 
Courtesy of Chef Jeff Wiesinger of Jeffrys Catering

Serves 4

This wonderful combination cooking technique uses both moist and dry heat. First, the chicken is grilled over high heat, then finished gently in the oven with a flavorful liquid – in this case a mixture of red wine and stock. The result is a fantastic chicken dish that pairs perfectly with a full-bodied red wine. I suggest serving with mashed potatoes, to soak up all the tasty juices.

1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or whole chicken legs (including the drumstick)
½ cup full-bodied red wine
1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
5 ounces whole Crimini mushrooms, or 4 large Portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
Handful Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 plum or Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

In a shallow baking dish, combine 1 cup of the olive oil, paprika, pepper, salt, and garlic to make the marinade. Rinse the chicken well under cold running water, then pat thoroughly dry with absorbent paper. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat, and marinate for 1 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350° and preheat a gas or wood-burning grill to high heat, approximately 500°.

Lift the chicken, letting excess marinade drip away (reserve the marinade), and place on the hot grill with the skin side down (the grill will flame up because of the marinade). Grill the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes total, turning them as often as needed to dodge the flames and achieve a nice char on the chicken. Place the chicken and any remaining marinade in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and add the wine and stock. Cover the dish with foil and cook for 1 hour. While the chicken is braising, toss the mushrooms with the remaining ½ cup of olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms cap sides down for 4 to 6 minutes to create nice grill marks. Transfer the hot mushrooms to a covered container, and allow them to continue steaming in their own juices.

To Serve:
Transfer the chicken to warmed plates and drizzle generously with the cooking juices. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and serve alongside the chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley and diced tomatoes (for added acidity). Enjoy!