This dish is really quite impressive but easy to make and is a nice one to make for friends, as you can put it in the oven before they arrive and prepare the salad in advance. When the guests arrive and you can just relax with a drink and some antipasti, while the chicken cooks on the stove and you check it now and again!
WINE NOTE: Sangiovese- keep it Italian and this particular grape has a soft fruity and leather which seems to go nicely with the balsamic sauce.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
200g smoked pancetta diced
3 garlic cloves
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
150ml white wine
300ml chicken stock
3 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
200g asparagus cut in half lengthways
200g cherry tomatoes quartered
a few parsley leaves
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp EVOO
Heat oil in a large pan with a tight fitting lid and place the chicken pieces in skin side down and brown. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Turn the chicken , season the skin and add the pancetta. Cook for a few more minute then add the garlic and thyme. the pancetta should be crispy.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine scraping the caramelised bits and allow the wine to bubble for a minute, then add the stock. Place the lid on the pan and simmer the chicken gently for an hour. Add more stock if the pan should become dry.
Place the asparagus, tomatoes, parsley leaves, lemon juice and EVOO in a large bowl. season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss the salad and let stand for at least 20 minutes- place in the fridge if making in advance.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the heat. The sauce should have reduced and thickened. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, return the pan to the heat for a minute to warm the sauce, then serve the chicken and sauce alongside the salad.