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Vincent’s Garlic-Thyme Chicken

Vincent Catalanotto and I first met when we both worked as waiters in a fancy French restaurant called Romanoff’s in 1977. Years later, he opened up a wildly successful Italian restaurant in Metairie. This is my take on one of the best dishes there, a favorite on the menu since the place opened.

  • 1 whole cut-up chicken, or four chicken breasts (skin on)
  • 1 Tbs. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 heads fresh garlic, the cloves sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Season chicken pieces with Creole seasoning and salt.

2. Melt butter in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté chicken pieces until browned all around. It will first stick to the pan, then release; turn it when it does.

3. Push the chicken to one side of the pan and add the wine to the pan bottom. Bring it to a boil, then scatter the thyme sprigs and the garlic slices among the chicken pieces.

4. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Then put the whole pan into the preheated 400-degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. When juices run clear from the thighs when jabbed with a kitchen fork, remove from the oven.

5. Place the chicken and half the garlic on a serving plate and keep warm.

6. Remove the rest of the garlic and the pan juices to a food processor and process into a puree. Strain into the pan and bring back up to a light boil. Reduce to sauce consistency. Spoon over the chicken and serve.

Serves four.

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