Thursday, September 22, 2011

Braised Tomatoey Goodness

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Why does dark meat poultry get a bad rap? For some reason many of us fall prey to the allure of white meat chicken and turkey without considering how seriously yummy dark meat can be. It is almost always more moist and flavorful, not to mention cheaper to purchase at the grocery...that exact reason is why I hunted down this recipe. Chicken thighs were on sale for a staggering 75 cents a pound at our local grocery store and I couldn't resist!

I wanted to do something special with them, try a new recipe, but also make sure that I got a ton of flavor into the chicken. This particular evening my husband and I were craving something deliciously potatoe-y as a side dish, so I braved the mandolin and emerged bloody-stump-free and cooked up these seriously cheesy potatoes that are almost guilt-free.

Next time I make this dish I'll probably serve it over couscous or rice
, since it really has some Moroccan-type flavors that would marry well with that type of side dish. Still, if you're really craving cheesy potatoes - go for it, they're delicious!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato


- 2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- 4-6 chicken thighs or 6-8 chicken legs (skin on!)
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 medium white onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 small knob of ginger (peeled and grated)
- 6 garlic cloves (peeled and halved lengthwise)
- 28 oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-4 dried bay leaves (1-2 if using fresh)
- Water (if needed)


Heat the canola oil in a large dutch-oven style pot over high heat. Arrange the chicken on a tray or cutting board and season them liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. When the oil begins to shimmer and smoke lightly, carefully add the chicken to the oil.

2. Do not over-crowd the pan! Resist the temptation to move or turn the pieces and allow them to brown on their first side, about 3-5 minutes. Use metal tongs to turn the chicken to sear their second side, about another 3-5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.

3. Turn down the heat to medium under the dutch oven. Add the cumin seeds and other spices to the oil, stirring rapidly to quickly toast (only about 10 seconds). Splash in the white wine (be careful not to splatter yourself) an stir quickly. Add in the onions, ginger and garlic, stirring to combine. Season with salt, then add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick and bay leaves.

4. Allow the mixture to cook and reduce slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pot, keep the heat low and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through - about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if the sauce looks to be getting too thick or stick to the pan, add in water slowly - only about a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring gently to combine.

5. When the chicken is done, remove and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Taste for final seasoning of salt and pepper and then serve it up and enjoy the braised tomatoe-y deliciousness!

This recipe was originally by one of my favorite chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli. It is one of my favorite real-life food-based dreams that I'll get to eat at her restaurant, Butter some day! I changed a few seasoning details and cut down the portions to fit better into a two-person dinner scheme.

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