The winter weather has turned cold, cold, cold and I don't know about you, but it makes we want to cook things like stews, and soups and braised dishes.
I found some pretty nice looking chicken thighs at my grocers last week. I bought them not quite knowing what I'd do with them. Chicken thighs are generally cheaper than chicken breasts, but these days, just as meaty and almost as lean. There was a time when I would only eat white meat, but dark meat, particularly chicken thighs, are the perfect meat for longer cooking times. The dark meat has grown on me over the years. The meat stays juicy and tender, even with longer cooking times.
This dish is a relatively quick braise, as it only takes about 45 minutes to cook in the oven once everything is perfectly browned stove top. I would say, having a good dutch oven is essential when making this dish. I absolutely LOVE mine. I picked one up at Target a few years ago and I use it all the time in the winter months to make dishes like this, or stews or soups. The recipe originally comes from Chef Michael Symon. I changed up just a few things, but was very happy with the end result. I served with some crusty bread for a complete meal.
You will want to brown the chicken thighs with skin on until they are well browned, as pictured above. A good enamel coated cast iron dutch oven will make easy work of this. I browned the chicken thighs in two batches so I didn't overcrowd the pan.
Once all the chicken is browned, you will brown up the potatoes, fennel and onion and add in the spices and liquid, then top with the browned chicken and let the liquid come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, you cover and transfer to a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.
The finished dish will come out looking like this. I used the braising liquid as a "gravy" over the chicken and vegetables. Hearty and delicious. Perfect winter weather comfort food.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Fennel
adapted from HERE
Servings - 8 Serving size - 1 chicken thigh, skin on with 1/8th of vegetable/potato mixture and 1/4 cup braising liquid Points Plus per serving - 7 Points+
Calories - 266.4, Total Fat - 7.9g, Carb, - 33.3g, Protein - 14.1g, Fiber - 4.9g
For more hearty appetites: Servings - 4 Serving size - 2 chicken thighs, skin on with 1/4th vegetable and potato mixture and 1/2 cup braising liquid Points Plus per serving - 13 Points+
Calories - 532.8, Total Fat - 15.8g, Carb. - 66.5g, Protein - 28.2g, Fiber - 9.8g
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on, excess fat removed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
8 small (1 3/4" to 2 1/2" dia.) red potatoes, quartered
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
dash of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 dried bay leaf
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season chicken thighs, front and back with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, heat 1 TBS olive oil until hot. Add 4 chicken thighs, with skin side down. Brown on each side. Remove and put aside. Brown remaining chicken thighs and when they are done, remove from pan and place with the first batch. If there is a lot of oil in the pan, drain it off until you are once again, left with about 1 TBS.
2. Add in the potatoes, onion, fennel, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown. Add in the thyme, red pepper flakes, wine and chicken broth. Stir around to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Drop in a bay leaf. Arrange the browned chicken on top of the vegetables and allow the sauce to come to a boil.
3. Once the sauce comes to a boil, cover and place in preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked and the vegetables are tender. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the braising sauce.
Just like grilling is to summer, braising is to winter.
This was a perfectly delicious and hearty meal on a cold winter's night. I served it with some crusty bread to sop up the braising liquid for a complete meal. If you've never had fennel, do give it a try. It's delicious...and a much overlooked vegetable.
What else has been going on with me? Well...still too much, I'm sorry to say. I need a vacation. Preferably somewhere tropical and warm! haha
Do you like braising meats in the winter?