Tag Archives: chicken

A Killer Southern Supper

7 Apr
Chicken Thigh dinner

Pan roasted chicken thighs with long simmered green beans, Lady Cream peas, and rice & gravy.

Like most true Southerners, I was raised on fresh peas and fresh beans. To this day, one of my favorite meals is a big ol’ pot of either one. (A big ol’ pot of greens, too, of course, but that’s another post altogether.) In our house growing up, a pot of peas or beans and some cornbread was all we needed for a very satisfying meal.

Given my obsession with chicken thighs, however (well documented on this blog… here and here, for instance), I figure beans and peas can only be improved upon by a genius new chicken thigh preparation. Add in maybe my favorite food in all the world, rice & gravy (yes it is a single entity), and you have a killer southern supper like no other. So I give you:

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs in a Mustard Tarragon Cream Sauce, with Long Simmered Green Beans, Lady Cream Peas and Rice & Gravy.

I must note that most cooks wouldn’t serve peas and beans on the same plate. Too much! Overdoing it!

Whatever.

I will admit that when I first starting serving this meal, it was only the chicken, peas and rice & gravy on the plate:

Chicken Dinner 2

A divine plate of food for sure. But a little color on the plate is nice, as is a green vegetable.  I certainly could choose broccoli or spinach or even greens of any type. But can there be too much of a good thing? In a word, no. Thus, I couldn’t resist going full bore southern and adding my long simmered green beans. 

If you’re looking for heaven on a plate, this is it.

Below you will find the recipe for the chicken thighs I’ve developed the last few months, as well as links to recipes for the Lady Cream peas and the green beans.

As for the rice & gravy, just make some white rice (yes, for this, it must be white rice) and cover it with the pan sauce from the chicken.

Did I mention this was heaven on a plate??

Oh and don’t forget the best cornbread in the world! (Courtesy of Suzanne Goin.)

Cornbread

Suzanne Goin’s Brown Butter Cornbread

PAN ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH MUSTARD TARRAGON CREAM SAUCE

Note: This needs a pretty long simmer, so the total cook time can be close to an hour. But the long simmer causes the chicken to be very moist and flavorful, while also creating an incredible sauce.

Also, don’t be put off by the long directions. It’s very easy. I just want to make sure everyone understands exactly how to make this perfect.

Serves 4…. though this also is a great dinner for 2 hungry people who like two chicken thighs each…. like me.

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken thighs on the bone

2 preserved lemon wedges and 2 T of the ‘gloop’ from the jar:

(*You can use  the juice of 2 lemons in a pinch but, really, start making your own preserved lemons. They are damn easy and so damn good. Recipe here.)

9 cloves garlic: 6 smashed, 3 minced

2 shallots diced

1 cup white wine

3 cups chicken broth

2 T best quality mustard:

(* I like both smooth and course. Just make sure it’s a good mustard. You can’t beat Zatarains.)

3 T heavy cream

4 thyme sprigs

2 Italian parsley sprigs

3 tarragon sprigs

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

The night before or morning of:

Put chicken thighs in a large ziplock bag with smashed garlic cloves, preserved lemon wedges and gloop, thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs, 1 T salt and 2 T fresh cracked black pepper. Zip up and toss all around, making sure it is well mixed. Let sit in fridge overnight or at least all day.

Remove bag with chicken from fridge an hour before cooking to come to room temp.

When ready to cook:

Place cast iron skillet over high heat for 3-5 minutes. Get it HOT.

Remove chicken thighs from bag, scraping the herbs and garlic from the chicken to get a good clean sear on the skin.

Pour two glugs olive oil into skillet and let sit for a minute. You want the oil hot.

Place thighs in pan, skin side down. It will fire up! In 3-5 minutes the skin will be nice and browned and crisp. Don’t move the chicken but watch it so it doesn’t burn. When skin releases from the pan and the skin is nice and crisp and brown, flip the chicken. Let the bottom side sear for 3-5 minutes as well, getting a nice brown sear on the bottom. 

Turn heat to medium and remove chicken from pan to plate.

Toss the shallots into the skillet and stir stir stir. You want them to cook down in the juices in the pan, yum, but not burn. When they are starting to soften, throw in the garlic and stir stir stir so the garlic also does not burn. After about 60 seconds, pour in the wine. Turn back to medium high and let the wine cook down until the wine is mostly gone. (No need to go all the way!)

Pour in 2 cups of the chicken broth. Add the mustard and stir everything around as the broth comes to a soft boil. Add the tarragon sprigs.  (I add salt and pepper again at this point but that is up to you.) Turn heat back up to medium high.

When it is all mixed and the liquid is at a nice slow boil, put the chicken back in the skillet, skin side up. The liquid should come up to the skin but not cover the skin so it doesn’t mess up the crisp skin. Cook the chicken on medium: the liquid should be at a soft bubbling boil, for 20 or so minutes, until when pierced the chicken thigh juice runs clear not pink. (Or use a thermometer to get the chicken to the temp you desire, remembering it will continue to cook when you remove it from the skillet!)

If you need to add extra broth as it cooks, use that extra broth. I usually add a little. I like this sauce more liquid than thick… better for topping the rice.

Thighs Simmering

When at your desired temperature, remove the chicken thighs to a plate. Add the cream and let the sauce thicken to your desired consistency. (You may want to turn the heat up a little at this stage.) As noted above, while I want a good sauce, I like this to be still slightly liquid, not a total thick sauce. This is “gravy” for the rice, after all.

Remove the tarragon sprigs. Serve chicken thighs with white rice and with the sauce poured over both the rice and the chicken.

WOW.

And don’t forget these as well:

Lady Cream Peas recipe

Long Simmered Green Beans recipe

  

 

 

When Friends Cook, Vol. II

4 Sep

I cook so often for people it’s always a treat when someone cooks for me. Case in point is my close friend Chris Boghosian. Chris is not only one of the best people I know, he’s also a wonderful cook. I’m lucky enough to have him drop by at least twice a month for dinner. About half the time I’m able to cajole him into doing the cooking.

I’m also lucky because while he loves my kitchen and loves cooking here, he’s often irritated I don’t have some utensil or device he wants to use. Which means he usually shows up with said utensil or device as a gift so he has them on hand when he works his magic in my kitchen.

(Yes, there is a method to my madness. I’ve even added three incredible knives to the kitchen this way, thank you Tiffiny, Tee and Dennis.)

When Chris cooks, I usually request his chicken thighs. They are, simply put, The. Best. Chicken. Thighs. Ever. Chris makes light of this in his recipe below, but don’t let him fool you. I am not being overly hyperbolic here. It’s the truth.

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BEST. CHICKEN. THIGHS. EVER.

So without further rambling on my part, here is Chris (with a couple of italicized asides from me):

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“Never, Ever, Ever….” Vol II

8 Mar

When I posted Never, Ever, Ever Vol I, my dear friend Jan emailed to say I made her feel guilty. Given my Catholic upbringing, my response was… success! So, here to heap yet more guilt upon you, I give you Vol. II.

Never, ever, ever buy broth. Ever. Seriously. Don’t do it.

You talkin’ to me?

This means you. Never do it.

Most important fact first: homemade broth is hands down the easiest thing you can do in the kitchen. I’m not asking you to engage in some wild Martha Stewart craziness like wallpaper your office with leftover magazine covers you first have to dye or, horrors, make a gingerbread house. Making broth at home is easy. Even easier than vinaigrette, subject of the previous guilt inducing post. As with vinaigrette, broth made at home is infinitely better, in every way, than even the best store bought broth. It saves you money and it’s better for your body and it’s better for the environment AND it tastes much better, both the broth and anything you make with it. That’s a lot of ‘ands’, all worth making your own.

Did I mention how good it tastes? I doubt anyone would open a can of Swanson’s and drink it. Yet that’s what I do every time I make homemade broth. I drink some of it from a cup by itself, it’s that good.

Even with my crappy iPhone camera you can see a big difference between the clear, pure homemade broth on the left and an expensive store bought, pasteurized version on the right:

Compare 2

Homemade broth vs. store bought

Did I mention it was easy? While I’ve included some longer instructions below, this is all you need to know:

Throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, bring it to a boil, turn it down, let it simmer, strain it… broth! That’s it. 

broth

A pot of broth simmering on the stove

It’s also, dare I say it? Fun. There are few things I have come to enjoy more in the kitchen than making broth. Chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, mushroom broth… it’s effortless yet very satisfying. I first discovered the brilliance of homemade broth when learning to make risotto. I love me some risotto, all kinds. People like to create a bunch of drama about risotto but it isn’t that difficult. One evening I made risotto with my own broth rather than from the store. The difference was amazing. So I dove into making broth.

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The Chicken Or The Egg…

4 May

It may be the age-old question but for me the answer to ‘Which came first?’ is simple: The Egg. Not that I don’t love chicken. I’m obsessed with chicken, as some of you know. This obsession started early as we ate a lot of chicken when I was a child. Growing up in The South, we ate a lot of fried chicken. Mom made a killer Chicken Tetrazzini I still think of with intense fondness. We had roast chicken occasionally and, in my teen years when we were trying to get my dad to eat healthy, we ate a lot of grilled chicken. But even before my love of chicken there was The Egg.

I always loved eggs. I loved them even before I remember, well, anything. My first actual memory as a child isn’t an egg but is sitting in a movie theatre. This experience lead to my career path as well as to this blog. I remember actually falling in love with movies that day. I sat in the theatre thinking, ‘Yeah, Ok, I get it, that’s amazing, I love this, that’s what I want to do.‘ But I don’t have a moment in my memory where I fell in love with eggs. I simply always was in love with them. An egg has to be one of the first items of real food Mom fed me. We had them for breakfast 4 or 5 times a week … and occasionally for supper, ‘Breakfast for dinner’!… so I fell in love with them even before that first actual memory in the movie theatre.

This is a love affair that has not waned.

At this point I’m beating a dead horse but, my goodness, I love eggs. An egg truly is the perfect food. Not only can you eat one on its own in so many wonderful ways, an egg is remarkably versatile. An egg can do virtually anything or go into virtually anything. Feel free to suggest a food in which you can’t use an egg but I’m hard pressed to think of what. If a dish is savory, at the very least you can top it with a fried egg, a trend that has exploded in restaurants lately. If on the other hand a dish is sweet, chances are you can still beautifully incorporate an egg, for taste, for texture, for plain old wonderful goodness. The Egg is definitely a deserted island food for me. You know the game: If you could only have 5 foods for the rest of your life to eat on a deserted island, what would you choose? The egg is at the top of my list.

Click here for the best egg recipe you’ve ever had (and the rest of the post)