A Revised Chicken Maxango
I say revised because this is one of my earliest Reluctant Gourmet recipes and after making it for 10 people recently I realized I would prepare Chicken Maxengo differently from the original recipe. This new version is a lot easier because of some shortcuts added and clearer descriptions.
This is a great recipe to practice how to saute and braise since both techniques are used. I tripled the recipe and served it to ten people at a dinner party, but this recipe is for four to six people depending on what kind of eaters they are. My wife and I wanted to prepare something that we could prep ahead of time with very little fussing once our guests arrived. Once everything was prepped and in the pot, you can relax and spend some time with your friends.
If you have any qualms about serving chicken at a dinner party, get over it. My friends all loved it and said would be delighted if served this in a restaurant, my test that the dish is a hit. We “gourmeted” the dinner up by serving crab cakes as an appetizer and fancy fresh green beans (haricots verts), rice pilaf and sautéed spinach with roasted pine nuts.
The original recipe comes from GatewayGourmet.com, a site about making restaurant quality soups and sauces at home. They also promote some of my favorite stock reductions including a product called Glace de Poulet Gold which is basically a roasted chicken stock reduction. You make your own Glace at home by reducing chicken stock in half but I do recommend checking out these products.
The recipe calls for one whole chicken about 3 pounds or 2 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts & chicken thighs, bone in or boneless with skin on or off – your choice. If you want more flavor, go with the bone in and skin on. If you want easier prep and less fuss when eating, go boneless & skinless.
If you are using a whole chicken, cut it into pieces, and season with salt and pepper. You will only be using the breasts, thighs and legs. You can use the rest to make a nice homemade chicken soup or chicken stock.
If the chicken breasts are really big, I recommend you cut them in half with a cleaver or large chefs knife. If you are using chicken pieces, wash them off and pat dry with paper towels then season with salt and pepper.