Thursday, November 18, 2010

Braised Chicken Thighs with Pommes Puree

There are few meals that are more satisfying on a cool fall, almost winter night than chicken and potatoes.  As much as I love roast chicken and potatoes, sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to roast a whole chicken, sometimes you're only feeding one or two people and just don't need that much food.  And sometimes, like when the holidays are quickly approaching, money is a little tight and one of the most inexpensive items at the meat counter are bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

I've written before about my new favorite cookbook Stir by Barbara Lynch, specifically her Fennel, Cucumber, Green Bean & Roasted Potato salad.  It was delicious, fresh and uber easy.  As I was trying to figure out what to do with the some of the plethora of chicken thighs I have in my chest freezer (yes I am a bit of a meat hoarder, especially when things are on sale) I recalled seeing a recipe in Stir.  I quickly turned to the page, looked over the ingredients and realized I had everything I needed to try this recipe out, with a minor tweak here and there.  I love when I have an idea or want to try a recipe and find, that without planning for it, I have all need right in my kitchen. It was Chef Lynch herself that recommended serving the chicken with her Pommes Puree and who am I to question that?  Plus I also had potatoes and since the boy is a fan of all things starch I decided to go whole hog and make a whole meal from Stir.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Thyme & Garlic
adapted from Stir by Barbara Lynch
serves 2-3
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 Tbsps vegetable oil, plus more as needed
6 skin on, bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and skin
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 Tbsps fresh parsley
fresh lemon juice to taste
coarse sea salt or fleur de sel

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the thighs with salt & pepper and cook skin side down without moving until the skin is crisp and golden, about 6-8 minutes.  Sear in batches if the chicken doesn't fit in a single layer with room.  Use a spatula to carefully flip over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes.  Remove thighs from pan  and pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat.
2.  Lower the heat to medium/medium low add garlic and stir until fragrant and lightly colored, being careful not to burn the garlic, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for another minute.  Add the wine bring to a boil and reduce down by 3/4, then add the broth.
3.  Return the chicken to the pan and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.  Simmer over medium low, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and fork-tender and the liquid had reduced by 2/3, 25-30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil.
4. Reduce sauce further, if necessary, add lemon juice and parsley.  To plate add a dollop of pommes puree, top with 2 chicken thighs, pour the sauce over top and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

The pommes puree call for the potatoes to be boiled with the skins on and passed through a potato ricer.  I chose to peel them first and don't have a potato ricer, so I cooked them even a bit longer than is called for to make sure they were easy enough for me to mash to a smooth texture.

Pommes Puree
adapted from Stir by Barbara Lynch
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 lbs potatoes - peeled - russets work best but I used red potatoes because it's what we had
8 Tbsps butter (1 stick) - cut into large pieces
2/3 cup half and half
freshly ground pepper coarse sea salt

1.  Put the potatoes in a medium pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until extremely tender (a toothpick will come out easily), about 40 minutes.
2. Heat the butter and cream together over low heat until the butter has completely melted.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher and then start to pour the cream & butter mixture is as you continue to mash.  Reserve some of the cream mixture for when the potatoes are completely mashed and not lumpy, then stir in the remaining butter & cream with a wooden spoon, being careful not to overmix.
3.  Taste and season with white pepper and a bit of sea salt.  Serve with braised chicken thighs.

This meal was a hit with the boy and I.  So heart-warming and very easy to pull together on a cool rainy night.  This was one of the first times I've made braised chicken thighs and been completely happy with the outcome.  The original recipe called for rosemary, but thyme was what I had and used and it was perfect.  This is a really great basic recipe that I know I'll use all winter long and tweak to fit whatever I have on hand.  Plus anything that makes the boy as happy as this works for me.  He even happily did the dishes, though I found out later on he was munching on the last lone thigh while cleaning up and I think that may have had something to do with it.


No comments: