I'm a thigh guy. Not in that creepy Bill Clinton "I want to grope your leg" kind of way, but in that "Man, that chicken thigh braising in that pot looks fucking good" kind of way. Feel free to exchange "grilling" or "roasting" for "braising" and I am in. Especially chicken thighs of the bone-in variety. It's really quite simple: dark meat has more flavor, bones have more flavor, so unless the recipe calls for boneless (and sometimes even if it does), bone-in is the deal (skin on is even better...fat is even more flavor!).
I've made this particular take on Coq au Vin twice now, and both times w and I were LOVING it! It's from the April '07 issue of Food and Wine Mag, and is one of those recipes I love to make for its ability to totally over-deliver for the effort expended. The richness of the sauce is perfectly offset by the piquancy and zest from the capers and lemon. It's also a good summer braise as it doesn't have the heaviness of big, dark winter braises. Pair this with some buttery polenta and fresh peeled baby carrots from the farmers market and you'll be as happy as we were. F and W recommended pairing this with a crisp sauvignon blanc, and it was spot on, although feel free to rock any dry, crisp white that's caught your fancy.
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Zesty Braised Chicken with Lemon and Capers
active time: 25 min
total time : 1 hr 30 min
8 bone-in chicken thighs with skin (6 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large peeled garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups Sauvignon Blanc
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
Four 1-inch strips of lemon zest
4 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 bay leaf
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.
Done browning, now it's time to get saucy!
2. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, lemon zest, thyme, capers and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven and braise for about 45 minutes, until the meat is tender.
Reducing the sauce...getting closer!
3. Return the skillet to the stove and boil until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme, bay leaf and lemon zest, if desired, before serving.