The old classic, Julia Child style.
Boiling the bacon first is a really worthwhile thing to do – it purifies the bacon flavour without making the end result too salty. No smoked bacon!
A good choice of Cognac and wine helps this dish onto the next level – I prefer Cotes du Rhone over Beaujolais or even Chianti. Flambeing the Booze is always the best bit, although I am sure you could just cook off the alcohol without the drama and get the same taste.
Boneless Chicken thighs are more suitable and richer than drumsticks or boring chicken breasts – carefully browned in butter and bacon juices and not filling the casserole to cover all of the chicken skin keeps a nice contrast between the crispy bits and the sauce.
It is not always easy to get the small “french” silver skin onions that are usually suggested for this dish. UK supermarkets seem to only stock them as pickled versions in jars. However, using the same technique as with the bacon one can easily boil off the pickled flavors and is left with rather perfect ingredient for this dish. Some people have been said to even enjoy a tiny leftover vinegar flavor in their browned and braised onions!
Controversially I like this dish with mashed potatoes! Forgive me Julia …