Braised Lemon Chicken
Saturdays are great for more complicated recipes or experiments or just cooking in general. I've got more time and, if it doesn't work, it's not a big deal. Whataburger is still open.
So, I semi-made-up a recipe today and it was amazing -- even after somehow messing up the mashed potatoes and over-cooking the broccolini and forgetting to make rolls altogether, so I'm writing it down. I say semi-made-up because I took bits and pieces from several recipes and combined them, like I do.
- 3 celery stalks (diced)
- 4 carrots (diced)
- 1/2 of a huge onion (diced)
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of Pinot Gris (because it was the white wine I had)
- 1 bay leaf
- About 1 cup of chicken stock
- Strips of lemon zest from a medium lemon (peeled with a potato peeler)
- 6-ish sprigs of Thyme
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 chicken thighs
Basically, you want the same amount of diced onions, celery, and carrots and you want them to be the same size. This is apparently a mirepoix. I usually err on the side of more carrots because I like carrots. Also, I really wanted to put green olives and black pepper in this. But since Brook doesn't care that much for olives and still has some pregnancy-weirdness about pepper, I left them out. But, in hindsight, I think it may have been better without.
- Pull out the chicken thighs. Dry them off and season with salt. Let them come up to room temperature (about 30-60 mins). I prep everything else for the meal during this time (and went ahead and started blanching the broccolini -- I should've finished that before starting cooking anything else, but oh well).
- Blot the chicken thighs again. Salt probably drew out some moisture.
- Preheat an over to 375 °F
- Heat some olive oil in a braising pan on medium-high.
- When the oil gets hot, brown the chicken on the skin side (about 4-5 mins). Then brown the chicken on the other side (about 1-2 mins).
- Lower the heat to medium-low and wait for your pan to get a bit cooler.
- Add the onions and cook for about 1-2 mins. Stir frequently.
- Add the garlic and cook until the onions get translucent (about 5 mins). Stir frequently.
- Add the carrots and celery and cook until it smells really good and the carrots get a bit soft (about 10 mins). Stir semi-regularly.
- Turn the heat up to medium. Let the pan heat up a bit. Stir more frequently.
- Pour in the wine and simmer for about 2 minutes so that the alcohol burns off.
- Add the bay leaf, lemon zest, thyme, and any other flavors you might want to add to this that are not salt. Salt comes soon enough.
- Stir them in a bit.
- Pour in the chicken stock. Bring back to a simmer and stir to combine the flavors.
- Taste it. It probably needs salt (especially if you use low-sodium broth). Add some salt and anything else it might need to taste better. Taste and repeat until it's right.
- Put the chicken back into the pan, skin side up. The liquid should go up the sides, but not cover the thighs. Add more stock or pour out some liquid if you need.
- Throw that bad boy into the oven for 20 mins, uncovered.
- Turn the broiler on and move it to the top rack for 1-2 more minutes to crisp-up the skin.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and onto a plate to rest.
- Sieve everything in the pan into a gravy boat. Pushing down on the solids with a ladle.
- Take the remaining solids and throw them into a blender. Puree and resieve.
Full disclosure: I threw everything into a blender at the end and then tried to sieve. Whoops. Still came out good.