Braised Mediterranean Chicken
Topic and Skill – Braising, Cooking in Liquid (Episode #7): Optimizing dark meat which thrives in slow cooking, braising techniques.
A frequently asked question about this recipe is how ‘cooked’ do you want the skin side to be in the skillet before turning. My response is always: in braising the only opportunity for you to put color (caramelize) meats is during the initial sauté process before you add the water or stock. It’s OK to peek, and what you are looking for is that pleasing state of browness that you see when a perfectly cooked piece of meat is placed before you on a plate. It evokes an “Awwww” that measures being pleasingly done. That’s when you know it is time to turn the chicken.
- chicken hindquarters – I leg/thigh per person (thigh and leg attached, or bone-in thighs, or legs)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Canola oil
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 – 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 4 medium tomatoes sliced into wedges
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons capers
- pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
- salt and pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat Canola oil to medium-high, put in the chicken, skin side down, and leave it there for 12 minutes (essential for getting a good crisp skin). Then turn and cook 4 minutes on the other side. Remove to a plate.
Add sliced onion into the same pan, lower heat, and cook until translucent and begins to caramelize.
Add tomato and garlic, cook for a bit until tomatoes release their juices, then put the chicken back in the pan, skin side up. Add capers, and olives if desired. Pour in the chicken stock (should come halfway up the sides of the chicken) and bring to a boil. Add sprig of rosemary and bay leaf on the top.
At that point you can turn heat down to a bare simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Or, oven method
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
Place chicken in baking dish, spoon onion and tomato on top the chicken, top with rosemary and bay leaf, and then add the stock. Cover with foil and place in oven at for 20 to 30 minutes. Then remove foil and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Discard rosemary and bay leaf. Remove chicken from skillet or baking pan, arrange on platter, arrange onions and tomatoes on top, pour over liquid and serve.
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