If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good braised chicken thigh. If you’ve been to this blog more than once, you might have figured that out.
I have plans to plow through several if not all of the recipes in that feature—who wouldn’t want some hearty braised oxtail? The first one I made and loved was the Portuguese Chicken. It is a more exotic than the other braised chicken dishes I’ve made, and that was why I gravitated towards that one. I do admit that I was skeptical about how tender the chicken would be after reading the recipe as it called for not one drop of chicken broth and the prep work was remarkable simple.
I’m happy to report that it is delicious and worth the wait. You get the smokiness from the roasted pepper and the sharp awesomeness of garlic, but there’s also the tang of Dijon mustard and the warm sweetness of the wine. Yesh, I'm channeling a judge on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” but it really is that satisfying. Especially on a Sunday afternoon when the flurries the weatherman predicted turned out to be ten inches of heavy, wet snow.
Adapted from recipe in Bon Appetit - February 2011
1 cup all purpose flour
6 to 8 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped (optional)
1 ½ cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 large roasted red peppers from jar, halved, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
6 large garlic cloves, pressed or thoroughly minced
4 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
4 large bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup tawny Port
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Season flour generously with salt, pepper and paprika. Repeat process with chicken. Add chicken pieces to seasoned flour and turn to coat. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and sauté until brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. You will probably have to work in batches. Transfer chicken to plate; reserve skillet.
When all of the chicken is browned, arrange it in a single layer in large ovenproof pot. Top with tomatoes and juice, prosciutto, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon paprika. Add wine and Port to reserved skillet. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Remove from heat. Whisk in mustard and tomato paste; pour mixture over chicken and bring to boil. Cover; transfer to oven.
Braise chicken until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves and parsley. Using tongs, transfer chicken and toppings to platter. Return sauce in pot to simmer. If thicker sauce is desired, stir 1 tablespoon flour and butter in small bowl until smooth paste forms. Add flour paste to sauce and whisk to blend. Simmer until sauce thickens to desired consistency, whisking often. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken and serve.
NOTE: I actually like the peels on my pearl onions, so I don’t peel them. If you don’t care for them, peel away!