Thursday, September 16, 2010
My Favorite Chicken Recipe
Point-blank, this is my favorite chicken recipe. I'm a good cook and baker, though hardly a Michelin-starred chef; I like to think that I make a number of really delicious things to feed my loved ones. But if I could only pick one dish -- one shining example from all the thousands of foods I've prepared over the years -- this Cider-Braised Chicken would be the one I chose as my specialty.
I've been making it for several years, and was so proud of it that I entered it into a Passover recipe contest that Empire Kosher Poultry held in May of 2005. Yeah it's more of a Rosh Hashanah recipe, with apple cider as a key ingredient, than a Springtime one; but it met all the requirements -- featured chicken, was kosher (no mixing of meat and dairy products) -- so I sent it in ... and I won 2nd Prize! I was so thrilled!!!
This dish is special enough for a romantic date or a special event, but also easy enough that it could be served at any time. It's fragrant, tender, luscious. And I've even served it to picky eaters who've actually then begged for seconds ....
Enjoy! And בתיאבון [bih-TAY ah-VONE] = "Bon appetit" in Hebrew.
3 tablespoons oil
2 pounds chicken thighs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence*
1 cup apple cider
*There are many, many varieties of herbes de Provence, which is a mix of thyme or fennel or savory or rosemary or other herbs, often with lavender mixed in. I bought a jar recently that smelled like oregano, that appeared to have no lavender in it at all ... this was not good. Find a mix that doesn't have one overpowering ingredient, and be sure the lavender is there, too.
Heat oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the chicken with the salt and pepper, and place into the skillet skin-side down.
Cook for 10 minutes until nicely browned.
Turn the chicken over and cook for 5 minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken to a platter.
Pour off most of the fat, then sauté the shallot for 1 minute until translucent.
Stir in the mustard, vinegar, and herbes de Provence; combine well.
Stir in the cider, and return the chicken to the skillet.
Cover the chicken and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Place the chicken on a serving platter and boil the sauce down to reduce it until it has thickened and become caramel-colored.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve hot.
Makes 6 servings.
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