One week from today, Mr. Tummyrumblr and I will begin our long trek across the most visually boring states in the U.S., on our way westward. Even though our apartment is already 75% packed, I am still a disaster. Every three minutes I think of something of dire importance that must be taken care of immediately, which takes me away from the very important thing I was working on three minutes prior. This leaves many things partly completed – but not dinner, people!
I needed a simple, mostly hands-off recipe that we would be happy to eat for a few meals this week, and braised chicken thighs fit the bill. While most braises take upwards of three hours to reach tender perfection, chicken can be braised perfectly in under an hour. We’re fortunate to have a great, local grocery just four blocks away that carries local, pastured meats and a variety of seasonal organic vegetables (Amish Health Foods, we’ll miss you). This morning I trekked over with my backpack and purchased 6 chicken thighs, an onion, 2 carrots, and a sweet red pepper for $13 and headed home to throw dinner together. 20 minutes of quick prep later, and my chicken was doing its thing in the Le Creuset. Couldn’t be easier!
Weeknight Braised Chicken
*makes 4 servings*
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
butter, ghee, or olive oil
S & P
1 medium onion, medium dice
2 medium carrots, medium dice
1 large sweet red pepper, medium dice
1 tsp. sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
½ C. dry white wine
1 ½ – 2 C. chicken broth
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. In the meantime, season your chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper. When the pot is hot, add your butter or oil, swirl to coat, and place the chicken thighs, skin side down, in the fat. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken skin in nicely browned. Chop your veggies while you wait. Once nicely browned on the skin side, turn the thighs over and cook in the same manner on the second side. Remove the thighs from the pot and set aside on a plate (they need not be cooked through).
To the same pot, add your onions, carrots, and peppers, and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to become lightly browned in some spots. Add the sweet paprika and the bay leaves and cook for just another minute to toast. Deglaze your pan with the wine and increase the heat to medium high. Stir to loosen any bits from the bottom of the pan and continue to cook for a few minutes until the wine has nearly evaporated.
Nestle the chicken pieces down in the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly if necessary. Pour over the broth so it comes up the sides of the chicken about three-fourths of the way. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 40 minutes, turning them over once during cooking. Remove the chicken pieces to a platter or bowl, leaving all of the liquid behind. Increase the heat to high and boil the remaining liquid to reduce by one-half, roughly 6-8 minutes. The sauce will thicken just a bit and should be reduced to about three-fourths of a cup.
Pour the sauce over the still warm chicken and serve with steamed and buttered potatoes, rice, or whatever you like.