Wine Braised Chicken
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine (see Tip)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
10 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 3/4 pounds), skin removed, trimmed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble when cool.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, pepper and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and their juice and salt; stir well.
Place chicken thighs in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Sprinkle the bacon over the chicken. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 3 hours on High or 6 hours on Low. Remove the bay leaf. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Variation: Turn 2 cups each of leftover chicken and sauce into Braised Chicken Gumbo. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 diced medium red or green bell pepper and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until the pepper is beginning to soften and the flour is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups shredded chicken, 2 cups sauce, 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup sliced okra (fresh or frozen, thawed), 3/4 cup instant brown rice (see Tip) and 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld and the okra is tender, about 10 minutes.