Chicken Lyonnaise

Chicken Lyonnaise is a classic French entree that has seen so many variations over the years that what constitutes chicken Lyonnaise is no longer a fixed target. In whatever variation, in our home, this is a favored dish and I always look forward to making it.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Start with a single whole chicken and butcher it into breasts, thighs, and legs. You won’t need the wings for this recipe, but save them with the carcass and make chicken stock!

3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
12 garlic cloves
10 bay leaves
1/3 cup Banyuls vinegar

Heat 3 tbs of olive oil to the point that it is shimmering but not smoking. Olive oil has a low flash point and is not the best oil for sauteeing, but it is what I always have on hand, so it is what I use. Grapeseed oil, by comparison, has a high flash point, along with a neutral flavor, and is superior for pan frying.

With the oil in the pan shimmering, place the chicken breasts in the pan skin side down. Arrange the legs and thighs around the breasts and bring the skin to a nice golden brown, 7-10 minutes. Turn over the chicken and add 2 tbs of butter to the pan. As the butter melts, swirl it around the pan to coat the chicken pieces.

Add 12 cloves of garlic, with the skin on, to the pan. Add 10 bay leaves, placing them down into the gaps between the chicken pieces. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the pan and place in oven, uncovered. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and temperature check the breasts, which cook faster than the legs and thighs. Chicken needs to be 165 degrees for safety reasons, but keep in mind that meat will continue cooking when removed from heat, so I like to remove the chicken breasts from the oven at 157 degrees and tent with foil on a plate. Continue cooking the remaining chicken pieces for another 15 minutes, or until a probe comes up at 160 degrees.

Remove pan from oven and with tongs remove the garlic and bay leaf from the pan, along with the chicken. Over medium-high heat, bring the pan liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Add 1/3 cup Banyuls vinegar to the pan.

Banyuls is a red wine vinegar that has aged in oak barrels for a minimum 1 year. The result is a rich and flavorful vinegar that is beyond any red wine vinegar. As you add the Banyuls to the pan it will foam up and release an amazing aroma, be sure to enjoy this moment as it is a precursor to what you will soon be plating.

Add all the chicken pieces and garlic back to the pan along with the juices from the plate. Discard the bay leaves. As the pan sauce thickens around the chicken, 5 minutes tops, you are ready to serve.