We just got back from visiting my parents in sunny southern California and had a fabulous time. My parents live in Carlsbad, where the weather is always perfect and the beach is only a few minutes away. We took the kids to the San Diego Zoo but beyond that, we mostly just hung out and “relaxed”, which looks a lot different than it did pre-kiddos, but was still a welcomed break from our usual day-to day. There was a little bit of cooking but not too much and that was fine with me.
When we got back on Saturday evening the kids were super-excited to be home and playing with their toys in their space was more fun than usual. For me there was unpacking to be done and a time change to be reckoned with so that we could all be ready to face the week ahead by Monday. As much as I wanted to spend a sleepy Sunday on the couch, I knew I had to venture out for groceries and cook something for dinner (and preferably to eat one more time during the week). If there is one thing being a parent has taught me, it’s that sucking it up and doing something you don’t feel like doing right now can have a major payoff later. So, with the knowledge that my future-self would thank me, my little assistant and I went to the store and brought back chicken thighs that we found on special.
Braised chicken thighs don’t take very long at all but always seem to take longer than my usual weeknight schedule allows. I keep them on the regular weekend rotation and always make enough for leftovers. Even though it was sad to leave the sunshine state there’s something to be said for the seasons and seasonal cooking. It’s been a gorgeous fall here in Chicago and I couldn’t think of a more fetching fall supper to get us back in the saddle.
Next week is Thanksgiving! We’re having Turkey but I’ve also been promised an Irish bacon for my Thanksgiving spread. Stop by the boutique for all sorts of Holiday foods from desserts to condiments to breads to sausages.
Public Service Announcement: Cornbread stuffing with Winston's sausages is the best.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Boiled Cider
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
8 chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless)
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 shallot, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of thyme (optional)
2 tablespoons boiled cider (recipe for boiled cider can be found here but honey or maple syrup are both good substitutes)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
½ cup dry white wine or sherry
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Parsley or chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven over high heat.
Wait until oil becomes very hot.
Add chicken thighs and sear until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Do this in at least two batches.
Once browned all over, set chicken aside on a plate and start searing the remaining chicken.
After browning all of the chicken pieces, add shallot, garlic and thyme (if using) and cook until onion begins to soften, 3-5 minutes.
Add wine or sherry and reduce until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as you go.
Add stock or broth, boiled cider and dijon and bring to a boil.
Turn off heat and place pan, mostly covered (I put it in the oven with the lid just slightly ajar), in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Remove chicken, taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
To thicken sauce (optional), mix water and cornstarch until fully combined and no powder remains, just white liquid.
Add cornstarch slurry to sauce and bring sauce to a boil.
Add cider vinegar.
Remove pan from heat, pour sauce over chicken, garnish with parsley or chives and serve.