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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Braised Chicken Thighs with Button Mushrooms

A few nights ago, we hosted some friends visiting from Hawaii and for dinner I made Love Your Wife Chicken.  We had a great time and they enjoyed the meal.  When I was shopping for the meal, I tried to find skinless chicken thighs without any luck.  Finally, at Safeway, I managed to find fresh chicken thighs with the bone and skin, so I purchased them.  After making the dinner for our friends, I had another seven thighs left over so I decided to use them in a new recipe.

As a side note, our friends brought us a package of Hershey’s Kisses that contained Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts that they had purchased in Hawaii at Costco.  They are very good and we are enjoying them, but a quick look at the Hershey’s web site doesn’t mention them.

I searched the internet and found several recipes that sounded like good potentials because I had almost all the ingredients without making a trip to the store.  I decided on an Emeril Lagasse recipe I found on the Food Network web site called: Braised Chicken Thighs with Button Mushrooms.

I also had one half a recipe of unbaked Chocolate Lava Muffins left over in the refrigerator.  As this was so much food, we decided to have our neighbors over for dinner.  A quick call confirmed their coming for dinner and they would bring the wine.

I found that this recipe is very similar to the Love Your Wife chicken recipe and I thought this would assist in the preparation of the dish.  This recipe uses a specific Emeril ESSENCE seasoning which makes it different, but the basic concept is the same.  I prepared for cooking by mixing all the spices for the Essence spice mix.  I added less than one-half of the cayenne pepper and we didn’t have any onion powder so I skipped that spice.

As I was measuring out the spices, I used the last of our garlic powder, so when I finished combining the spices, I poured the completed Essence mixture into the old garlic powder bottle, relabeled the container and now I have it ready for future use.

Before I could start, I had to open the box on our new 13-piece Kirkland stainless steel cookware and get out the 3.5-quart covered sauté pan.  I washed the new pan in warm soapy water with a little white vinegar (to cut any production oils on the pan), and then I was ready to cook.

I placed the pan on medium-high heat and then took my chicken thighs from the refrigerator and sprinkled a little of the Essence mixture on each piece.  Once the pan was hot, I added about a tablespoon of our new grape seed oil to the pan to heat.  I place all the chicken thighs skin side down in the pan to braise for four minutes.  I covered the pan to keep the range top clean from splattering oil, but to keep the chicken from steaming, I left the lid slightly askew to let out the steam.

After four minutes, I flipped the thighs over to braise the other side for four minutes.  When the chicken was braised, I removed the pieces from the pan and set them aside for later.  Into the pan I added about three cups of sliced brown mushrooms that I had picked up at Costco and used in the Love Your Wife Chicken recipe.  I sautéed the mushrooms with two tablespoons of butter for five minutes while stirring about once a minute.

To the mushroom, I added one large white onion chopped into half inch pieces and about a tablespoon of minced garlic to cook for another four minutes.  Next I sprinkled the two tablespoons of flour into the pan and stirred constantly for five minutes to make a roux, and I guess it did…

Almost done!  Into the pan I added two tablespoons of tomato paste and two cups of chicken stock.  The recipe called for two tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary leaves.  I didn’t have any rosemary fresh or dried, so I skipped that ingredient.  We also had some bread from Costco that contained rosemary, so we really didn’t need competing flavors on our plate.  I brought the contents of the pan to a boil, then turned the heat down to simmer.

Into the pan I placed the cooked chicken thighs skin side down and then covered to simmer for sixty minutes.  I checked the time and it was 6:15 and our neighbors are to come at 6:30 to eat.  That’s not going to work!  Fortunately, our guests were a few minutes late and didn’t mind chatting while the chicken finished cooking.

After thirty minutes, I turned the chicken over to make sure it cooked evenly, covered and cooked for another twenty minutes.  By this time my wife and prepared a wonderful green salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and colorful peppers.

We sat down to a dinner of braised chicken thighs over brown rice with salad and rosemary bread.  Our neighbors had a nice bottle of Gewurztraminer from Fetzer vineyards that we enjoyed before and during dinner.

For dessert, I quickly baked chocolate lava muffins that we served with some ice cream and a little whipped cream.  I have made the lava muffins several times, but I realized today, that I have not taken any pictures to put in a blog article.

We concluded our meal with some chilled Vin Glace from the King Estates, which is a very sweet dessert wine.

Everyone liked the braised chicken thighs; the meat was very moist and tender.  Though I felt the recipe was some how lacking in flavor.  I did leave out the rosemary (because I didn’t have any) and that could have added some additional flavor.  I am very glad that I cut the amount of cayenne pepper in half, even then, I could feel the heat in my mouth for quite awhile after dinner.

My wife and I agreed that this is a good recipe, but we both liked the Love Your Wife Chicken better!

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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