Sunday, November 8, 2009

Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Bacon

By now, it should be no secret that braising is my favorite cooking method. Aside from the obvious attractiveness of braising (makes delicious leftovers, uses inexpensive cuts of meat, etc.), I love braising because I am comfortable and confident enough with it that I do not need to use a recipe to come up with a flavorful dish. As long as you follow the basic formula of browning the meat, sauteing the aromatics, deglazing the pan, adding the braising liquid, and cooking until the meat is tender, you are virtually guaranteed a nice meal.

All I did with for the below recipe was to follow the aforementioned technique using the ingredients that I had on hand. Braising really is that easy. These braised chicken thighs have a wonderfully rich and earthy sauce thanks to the mushrooms and bacon. Serve them over polenta to soak up the liquid.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Bacon
Serves 4

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a deep skillet over medium heat, saute the bacon until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet, careful not to crowd them. If necessary, cook in two batches. Cook the chicken thighs until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown and have released their moisture, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the wine into the skillet and bring to a boil. Stirring up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of a pan with a wooden spoon, reduce the wine by half, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the chicken thighs. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, approximately twenty minutes, turning once. Remove the chicken to a warmed plate.
  7. If the sauce needs to be thickened, bring it to a boil and cook until it reaches a desired consistency. Stir in the parsley and season it with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken thighs with the braising liquid.



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