Coat a large, wide, deep pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Pat the chicken skin dry with paper towels and season generously with salt. Add chicken skin side down to the pan. You should hear a big sizzle as the thighs hit the pan. Do not try to move the chicken, the skin will stick itself to the bottom of the pan and will unstick itself when it is ready. If the pan is smoking excessively turn the burner down and continue to cook. When the skin is brown and crispy, turn the chicken over and brown it on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve.
Lower the heat if you have not already done so and ditch most of the excess fat. Add the pancetta and brown. When the pancetta has started to get brown and crispy add the onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper and sweat over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until they release their juices. Add the wine and reduce by half. Return the chicken to the pan. Add chicken stock to almost cover the chicken. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the chicken for 30 to 35 minutes. Add more chicken stock, if needed.
While the chicken is cooking puree the almonds in the food processor. Drizzle in a little olive oil while the machine is running to make this a loose paste. Season with salt and reserve.
Once the chicken has cooked for 30 to 35 minutes, remove it from the pan and reserve. Taste the sauce for seasoning and stir in the almond puree. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer to thicken the sauce, if needed. The almond puree will help to thicken the sauce and to make it very rich.
Serve the chicken over Sauteed Haricots Verts or your favorite green vegetable. Spoon the mushroom almond sauce over and garnish with chopped chives.
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well salted ice water for shocking.
Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until the beans are tender but still toothsome about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and place immediately into the salted ice water. Once the beans are cool, remove them from the water and set aside until ready to use.
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and bring to a medium-high heat. When the garlic has become golden and very aromatic, remove it and discard. It has fulfilled its garlic destiny. Add the beans to the pan and saute until they are hot and coated with oil. Season with salt and serve right away.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell, 2008