Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cooking that Warms You down to your Toes

Braising makes meat fall-of-the-bone tender and, dare I say, succulent.  This recipe combines two of my favorites, chicken thighs and beans.  Oh, and wine.  I love wine.  And bacon.  You know, the stuff they wrap around chicken livers so that they taste good.  Yeah, I love bacon too.  The best pot to use for this is a glazed cast iron - they hold the heat more evenly than anything else.  But Use What YOU Have.  Just try braising if you haven't before.
               Braised Chicken with White Beans and Tomato

  1           teaspoon  vegetable oil
  4             slices  bacon -- chopped
  6                     chicken thighs
                        all-purpose flour
  1              large  onion -- chopped
  5             cloves  garlic -- minced
  28            ounces  canned diced tomatoes -- with liquid
     1/2           cup  water
  2          teaspoons  chicken base or bouillon
     3/4           cup  dry white wine
     1/2      teaspoon  dried thyme
  1           teaspoon  dried oregano
  28            ounces  navy beans, canned -- drained (2 cans)

Heat oven to 325

Heat heavy large covered pot over medium-high heat.  Add oil.

Cook chopped bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel.

While the bacon is cooking, sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Add to drippings in pot and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to large bowl.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot. Add chopped onion and minced garlic to pot; sauté 4 minutes. Add thyme and oregano, saute briefly.  Deglaze pan with wine.

Add tomatoes, water, chicken base to pan.  Bring to a simmer.  Add beans, chicken and bacon to the pot.
Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours.

Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.  This is important.  Beans can really flatten out the flavor of a dish.  I will often add a dash of cider vinegar just to give an acid balance to something.  It just sharpens the flavor.

I would have posted a picture but we ate it all.

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