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With family in the house and braised chicken thighs with leeks and mushrooms on the stove, things could be a lot worse.
Technically these chicken thighs aren’t braised, since we keep the lid off while cooking to reduce the sauce. An earlier version was braised, but we made some improvements because we’d rather have a better dinner than a spotless record.
The history of braised chicken thighs with leeks and mushrooms
Hi friends, I originally posted this recipe on Umami Girl on November 16, 2008 — less than six months after the blog began, and, as you’ll see me allude to so quickly you’d miss it if you blinked — only about two weeks after a very different president was elected for the first time in a very different era of American history.
I’ve always remembered this dish and the day I served it. Apparently back then it didn’t seem necessary to photograph a recipe merely because I was planning to blog about it? And let’s be honest, I might have wanted to update the photos anyway all these years later.
I made the dish again for the weekend, with a few tweaks to the recipe, and we loved it just as much as ever. I’m including the original text below. Look for more revived and improved recipes from the archives in the coming months. Here we go!
The Original Story of these Braised Chicken Thighs
Oh, hello there – did we have an appointment? Sorry I’ve been sending you straight to voicemail for the past several weeks, especially after all that yammering about how great autumn can be.
I’m not at all sure how it happened at first, but it may have ended with my blacking out from joy and relief at 11:01 p.m. on November 4th and just now waking up this morning. There may also have been a vague attempt to sleep through this hideous economy. But a girl gets hungry at a certain point and has got to get cooking, and chatting, again.
Anyway, now that we’re all here, it couldn’t be clearer that the wind has finally – finally – started to blow a new season into the world. It feels like hope for the future, to be sure; but it also feels like a time to make good on the promises of the past. Maybe I’m romanticizing, but I’m suddenly feeling the prospect of reunions of old friends, long penciled in but pushed back time after time these past years in favor of our collective opportunism.
Was it just me? For a while there, it was getting awfully easy to focus only on the relentless trajectory of our own days, forgetting to factor the value of soulfulness into the calculation of our progress. Today, though, if you stand very still for a moment, I think you’ll start to hear some old voices piping back in – whispers of a reunion of peace with patriotism; one of rhetoric with reality; one, I hope, of us all with each other.
Maybe it is just me feeling this way, in which case you may be more interested in the uptick in SPAM than in brewing up a pot of love for old friends.
But if you’re feeling the need to make amends for losing track of time, and do it fast, nothing paves the way back to familiarity like a bubbling pot of braised chicken thighs and veggies scented with wine and herbs. With maybe a little basmati rice on the side.
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 large leeks, white and light green parts cut into half-moons
- 8 ounces sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
- 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Heat a 12-inch cast-iron pan or braiser over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in the skillet and cook, without disturbing, until golden brown on the skin side, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
- Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add the leeks, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and sage and cook, stirring often, until all the veggies have softened and substantially reduced in volume, 5-10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two. Stir in the wine, chicken stock and cream and bring to a boil. Add browned chicken, skin-side up, and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Adjust heat to keep liquid at a simmer, and cook until chicken is done all the way through, about 45 minutes.
- Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes.
Use a good gluten-free flour blend to make this recipe gluten-free.
This isn’t technically braising, because the cooking occurs uncovered. In an earlier version of this recipe, I’d cooked the chicken covered and reduced the sauce afterward, but this method is easier and the results equally good.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 424Total Fat: 15.1gCarbohydrates: 20.7gFiber: 3.1gProtein: 41.3g