Braised Chicken Thighs
The concept behind braising is this: the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat. It is then simmered in liquid on low-heat in a covered pot for a very long time. You can choose to braise in the oven or on the top of the stove. I may be telling you what to do but I’ll leave some wiggle room here for you to make this dish your own. Because, either way, you will be proud of the food you bring to the table. This method of cooking is often used as a way to cook less expensive, tough cuts of meat.
Now don’t tune out. “Less expensive and tough” are not ways to describe the final product of your braising magic. Because braising makes tough, leathery meat– tender. Really! I promise.Cooking the meat slow, moist and covered over low heat for a lengthy time breaks down the tough connective tissue in meat. Through time, the moisture and heat build, and the collagen (which is what makes the meat “tough”) dissolves into gelatin. The gelatin moves into the sauce and works as a slight thickening agent making the sauce smooth and velvety!The key to success is time. Because as soon as the meat cooks through, its fibers begin to expel moisture. Thereby causing the meat to become dry and less flavorful. If you were to pull the meat out of the pan at this point you would be disappointed with the results. But if you give the meat, even more, cooking time, these fibers relax and absorb the melted fat as well as the flavorful broth. This process is called osmosis. The long and short of it is that everything re-hydrates and becomes very tender with an amazing flavor! So come on, you can do this. Try it.
Cider Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs & Legs with Onions and Raisins serves 2 CLICK here for a printable recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit
Braised Chicken Thighs
- 2 chicken thighs with legs attached
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour, for dredging
- 1 t kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 pinch black pepper, plus more as needed
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced into slivers
- 10 sage leaves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 c golden raisins
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 c white wine
- 1/2 c cider vinegar
- 3 c chicken stock
- 1/4 c flat leaf parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
Rinse the chicken legs & thighs under cool water and pat dry. Mix together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Spread the flour mixture across a shallow dish. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
Warm the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet or Dutch oven (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and sear until a golden crust develops, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and sear until golden crust forms on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
Add the onions to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly about 5 minutes. Add the sage, bay leaves, raisins and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and starting to stick to the bottom of the skillet, about 5 minutes. Add wine lower heat to medium and cook until the liquid is syrupy about 8 minutes. Lower the heat further to a simmer. Add cider vinegar and simmer for 2 more minutes. Stir in stock and parsley. Season lightly with salt and black pepper.
Return the chicken to the pan, nestling it into the braising liquid. Cover the pan and simmer about 1 hour and 15 minutes over very low heat. Transfer the chicken to a platter and (if necessary) reduce the onion mixture to desired consistency. Serve warm.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD