Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crispy, braised chicken thighs with oven roasted tomatoes, olives, and garlic confit

This dish utilizes a couple staples that I like to have in my fridge at all times: garlic confit and oven roasted tomatoes. To make garlic confit, just buy a bunch of peeled garlic cloves at the grocery store, throw them in a small pot, cover with canola oil, and simmer over very low heat until the garlic cloves are very soft and a knife or fork easily slides through them. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up a month.

For the oven roasted tomatoes, cut a bunch of roma tomatoes in half, lengthwise, place them cut side up on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and then scatter some fresh thyme over everything. Roast in the oven over very low heat (~250F) for 8 hours. Store these in an airtight container, covered in oil, for up to a month.

Now, on to this dish.

(2 servings)
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on.
  • 8-10 oven roasted tomato halves.
  • 6-8 cloves garlic confit.
  • 1 cup assorted olives.
  • 2 tsp sherry
  • 1 Tbsp garlic oil (from the garlic confit)
  • 1 shallot, minced.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup white wine.
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper.
Preheat a 10 to 12 inch skillet over medium to medium high heat and preheat the oven to 350F. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pan, and once the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken, skin side down. It is important to make sure the pan and the oil are adequately preheated before adding the chicken, otherwise the skin will stick to the pan. Let the chicken cook for a few minutes. Periodically, check the chicken by seeing if you can move it around without getting any resistance. At first, the skin will stick to the pan, but once it is cooked enough, the cells in the skin contract and, magically, almost, they stop sticking to the pan. If you try moving the chicken to early, you'll get burnt skin stuck to the bottom of the pan. No good. Once the skin is nice and crispy, turn the chicken thighs and cook for another minute on the other side. Remove to a plate, drain the oil and accumulated fat, reserving about 1/2 Tbsp.

Add the shallots and garlic confit. Cook until the shallots become translucent, then add the wine, sherry, tomatoes, olives, and thyme sprigs (you can leave these whole and remove before serving). A little smoked paprika might be a nice addition to this dish as well, if you happen to have some lying around the pantry. Let this mixture simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan along with any drippings that have collected on the plate. Place the whole thing in the oven, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove the cover and blast the chicken under the broiler until the skin crisps up again. Alternatively, you could just leave the chicken uncovered in the oven.

This dish goes well with roasted potatoes.

Christmas Dinner

Our Christmas Day Dinner menu featured a prime rib roast, garlic smashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with bacon and apples, and a beet and orange salad, along with some really nice wine from Matthews Estate, provided by family friends.

For the rib roast, I followed the advice given here, and was pretty pleased with the outcome. I let the roast sit out on the counter, covered, for a couple hours to bring it up to room temperature (this helps ensure even cooking), then I cooked it at about 250F until the center reached the desired temperature (about 5 hours), followed by a 15 minute blast at 500F to brown the outside. This approach helps ensure more even cooking and I would highly recommend checking out the link above next time you make a roast.

Christmas Eve Dinner

For Christmas Eve, my sister and I put together a number of different dishes for a buffet style dinner. Here are a few of the dishes that we served.

Deviled eggs.
Brie en croute.
Mushrooms, sauted with butter, garlic, and thyme.
Braised kale with smoked ham hocs.
And braised short rib sliders with homemade cucumber and onion pickles.