The temperatures were dropping and the wind was whipping last night. I knew my guys were gonna hit the door with pink cheeks and noses with the first thing out of their mouths being, "what's for dinner, Mom, we're cold and starving!" No problem - I was ready.
Earlier in the day, I had picked up some chicken leg quarters, veggies and stock. I wanted to make a dish that was warm, packed with flavor and filling. The decision was actually quite easy - a braise. Braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot. A big benefit of this cooking method is that the meat tastes great and you also get delicious broth, sauce or gravy. It’s one pot cooking at it’s finest. Also at the end of the meal there isn’t much to cleaning up and anything leftover can be reheated or frozen. So, a couple of hours before dinner I got to work and things came together beautifully. I served this delicious chicken with rice and ladled over the rich sauce flavored with cider vinegar, thyme and butter. Along with some fresh fruit, dinner was complete. What a great way to ward off the cold weather.
Cider Braised Chicken
4 chicken leg quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 - 6 carrots - roughly chopped
1 onion - chopped
5 cloves garlic - sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a large enameled cast-iron pot, heat olive oil.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add to pot, skin side down.
- Cook over moderately high heat, in batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
- Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of fat in pot.
- Add carrots, garlic and onion - cook over low heat until tender - 5 minutes.
- Add flour and stir for 1 minute.
- Add cider vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of the pot. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until thickened, 3 minutes.
- Add broth, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Nestle the chicken in sauce, skin side up. Transfer pot to oven and braise chicken for about 50 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove pot from oven and preheat to broil.
- Transfer chicken to a baking sheet, skin side up. Broil on middle rack of the oven until skin is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Simmer sauce over moderate heat until reduced to about 1/2 - 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in butter and season with salt and pepper.
- Return the chicken to the casserole, skin side up, and serve.
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