Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Flavorful Braise

This dish is the cover recipe of the recent Fine Cooking magazine. Before I get to the recipe; Fine Cooking has undergone a make-over and I'm not loving it. Makes me a little sad, as it has been THE food magazine for me for ages, I credit it often in teaching me new recipes, techniques and tips. Most of the changes have been cosmetic, but I also felt a lack of recipes in this first re-designed issue. Just my opinion...

Anyway, braised chicken. I seriously have grown fond of braising chicken thighs for some serious flavor and beautifully tender meat, as well as the thighs are very affordable, and who doesn't like that! If you're not a fan of dark meat, give this method of cooking a chance, you may not turn back. Also, braising is easy, fairly forgiving and open to many different interpretations for flavor.

Using bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs, you need to sear the meat. I switched the recipe steps around and cooked the bacon first, then seared the chicken in some of the bacon fat.

When the chicken is done, you start to saute some fennel, carrots and shallots, add some fresh parsley and thyme.

Braising has one downfall, you can't have crispy skin on your chicken. Usually, I sear the chicken to render the fat and start to establish a flavor base for the cooking liquid, then I remove and discard the skin. This time, when the braising was complete, I put everything on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler. The skin crisped up perfectly. The veggies got a light touch of crispness as well.

The braising liquid (wine & chicken broth) is fairly light and needs to be reduced on the stove top to make a rich, lovely sauce. Let this boil for about 10-15 minutes, reducing to about one cup of liquid.

Plate up. Chicken, veggies, bacon, sauce. Delicious. The carrots kept a bit of crunch, the fennel and shallots were soft, the bacon chewy. Great textual contrast paired with wonderful flavor components. The fennel's anise flavors paired beautifully with the carrots and contrasted the rich sweetness of the bacon and shallots and complimented the moist chicken. Well done.

NOTE: The recipe will be forthcoming when I have it in front of me.


Dancer in DC said...

Really delicious - this had a great flavor profile. I appreciated the extra step to crisp up the chicken's skin.

And I loved the various textures - the carrots were just soft enough, while the fennel melted in my mouth.

DC Food Blog said...

I'm also sad about the redesign. The pre design made reading the recipes really easy and organized the overall magazine well. I like having the gadget stuff in one place and the recipe stuff in one plac.e Here's it's disorganizing.

ScottE. said...

Oh...DC Food Blog...I didn't realize immediately what you were referring to...right...the changes to Fine Cooking.