Braised Chicken Thighs with Porcini Mushrooms

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When  you are at home, even if the chicken is a little burnt, what’s the big deal?  Relax
Jacques Pepin

I think that braised chicken no matter the recipe is such a fantastic comfort food and I’m always looking for a quick version for dinner and this fits the bill perfectly.   One hour for the chicken prep and  braise and the slow cooker took on the task of white grits or polenta with parmesan and mascarpone cheeses, finely minced peppers and a little shallot.

My personal preference Anson Mills Antebellum coarse grits and Artisan Fine white and yellow polenta, they have fool-proof recipes for those of us that didn’t grow up with grits and I had little knowledge the grits cooking process.  They can go in a slow cooker and yes it is a longer cooking time, but you don’t have to pay a bit of attention to them until just about serving time and that is to add in the cheeses, a quick stir, cover for a couple of minutes and serve.

I was inspired by two recipes from Barbara Lynch, but of course I had to change things up with the chicken recipe that called for white wine and chicken stock, no problem with either, but whatever happens to be within reach sometimes adds such a surprise flavor, in this case Noilly Prat extra dry vermouth and porcini mushrooms.  Instead of 1 cup of white wine I used 1/2 wine and 1/2 vermouth and a small amount of dried porcini soaked in water (saving the strained porcini water as portion of the required stock).  For an even richer flavor I added a bit more stock, 1/2 cup before reducing the pan sauce.  If using mushrooms saute with garlic.

Braised Chicken

This can be made 2 days ahead, but be sure to omit the lemon and parsley.  Reheat  (partially covered) until heated through, then add lemon and parsley.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Rosemary & Garlic

adapted from Stir by Barbara Lynch
serves 8

2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed (I used a light olive oil)
6 skin on, bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and skin
kosher salt and  freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup dry white wine or 1/2 cup wine and 1/2 vermouth
1 1/2 -2 cups chicken stock (I added 1/4 cup porcini broth)
2 tbsp fresh parsley
Fresh lemon juice to taste and a little grated zest
coarse sea salt or fleur de sel

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the thighs with salt and pepper; pepper and cook skin side down without moving until the skin is crisp and golden, about 6-8 minutes.  Sear in batches if the chicken doesn’t fit in a single layer with room.  Use a spatula to carefully flip over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes.  Remove thighs from pan  and pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat.

2.  Lower the heat to medium/medium low add garlic and stir until fragrant and lightly colored, being careful not to burn the garlic, about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute.  Add the wine bring to a boil and reduce down by 3/4, then add the broth.

3.  Return the chicken to the pan and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.  Simmer over medium low, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and fork-tender and the liquid had reduced by 2/3, 25-30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil.

4. Reduce sauce further, if necessary, add lemon juice/zest and parsley.  Spoon grits or polenta into bowls and top with  chicken thighs, pour the sauce over top and sprinkle with additional parsley and I like a dash of lemon zest.