Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe: Braised Chicken Thighs

As I'm sitting here waiting for a set of chicken thighs to defrost, I realized that I promised a few friends & family the last time I made this dish and posted a picture on Instagram that I'd post my recipe. As you can imagine, with the holidays time got away from me so here I am again making the dish for dinner tonight and so I decided I'd finally make good on my promise.


First let me say that there are several different ways you can go about the overall recipe. In fact, I do something different probably one out of every four times I make it. For example, in the photo above there are potatoes in the pot with the chicken. Alan prefers that I roast the potatoes separately so that's the way I make it the majority of the time. Braising is an incredibly forgiving method of cooking meat, and no matter what items you throw in with the chicken, you're sure to have a very succulent protein for your dinner. Also, please remember when following my instructions that I am less than precise in my cooking and what works for me after many years of trial and error might not work for you.

Basically, proceed at your own risk. :-)

To begin, you want to make sure that your chicken isn't super cold going into the pan so I usually let it sit for awhile before I start cooking. Then, I wipe them down and sprinkle both sides with salt & pepper.

At this point, you should start to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Before the chicken goes in the pan, you want to do is make sure that it is HOT (water should dance on the surface when you test the temperature). Once the pan is sufficiently hot, add a glug or two or olive oil and place the chicken skin side down. Let it cook like that for 4-6 minutes (give or take a minute or two). Once you have a super crispy skin developed, flip the chicken over so that it's showing skin side up. Toss your garlic - however many cloves you like - into the pan with the chicken and add your braising liquid. I usually use a mixture of white wine and chicken stock. In the past I've also used apple cider (with a bit of apple cider vinegar added to cut the sweetness), just broth, or just white wine.

Once you've added the garlic, add in any herbs you might have on hand. The method above is with thyme, the herb I most commonly use when making any chicken meal.

This is also when you can add in the lemons. You'll notice there are several slices in the photo above. My feeling that a full lemon for two thighs was way too much. I'd probably use only half a lemon next time (I'm not using lemon tonight because I don't have any on hand).

See what I mean? I'm very loosy goosy with my recipes.

Once you've got your chicken browned and all additional items in the pan, remove from the stovetop and place in the 350-degree oven for 25 - 35 minutes. I know this is quite a range but I've found that oven temperatures aren't consistent from one model to the next. For instance, the Kitchen-Aid stove we had at the house would cook four bone-in thighs in 25 minutes. The stove here, despite the temperature reading 350 takes a bit longer than that for two thighs. I'll probably leave them in for 30 minutes tonight.

Okay, with that, go forth and conquer.