1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces thick-cut bacon or pancetta, diced
2 4-pound chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4-6 tablespoons cognac or good brandy
1 bottle good medium-bodied red wine, such as a California pinot noir
2 cups chicken stock
1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon flour
1 pound baby onions (frozen is easiest)
1 pound cremini mushrooms
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove bacon to a plate.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.
Add as many pieces to the pan as will fit without crowding, and brown evenly on both sides, about 8 minutes. Continue cooking chicken until all the pieces have been browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add carrots, yellow onions, salt and pepper to pot and cook for 10-12 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally until onions are golden. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add cognac, raise heat and shake pan for 1 minute. Return bacon, chicken and their juices to the pot. Add wine, stock, bay leaf and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to lowest setting and cook until chicken is fork tender, 2-3 hours, and sauce has thickened. If sauce is thin, combine 2 tablespoons butter with flour and stir into stew.
Add baby onions.
In a medium saute pan, melt remaining butter and cook mushrooms over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.
Add to pot, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes until the sauce has thickened and the baby onions have cooked through.
Serve with peeled, steamed potatoes tossed with butter and salt.
Recipe adapted from Ina Gartenís Back to Basics cookbook.