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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken Thighs with Green Olive, Cherry, and Port Sauce

A few days ago while I was searching the internet for recipes for chicken thighs, I printed several recipes that sounded interesting.  I made the Braised Chicken Thighs with Button Mushrooms and put the rest of the recipes aside.  Then while working on my desk, I sorted through a stack of printed recipes and took a hard look at one of them.  We had all the ingredients except the chicken thighs and some cranberry juice, so the next trip to the store I picked up these items.

The recipe for the Chicken Thighs with Green Olive, Cherry, and Port Sauce is from Eating Well magazine, but I found it on the site under the same name.

I purchased the chicken thighs at Costco from the fresh meat area.  This was a bulk package that contained six individual portions of boneless, skinless meat.  Each smaller package containing a little more than a pound of meat, which is perfect for recipes for two people.

I opened one of the packages and set the chicken meat on some paper towels to absorb the extra moisture.  I sprinkled salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken, and then dredged each piece in some flour.

I put our new 3.5-quart saucepan on a burner on medium to heat.  The recipe calls for either 3 /4-cup of port or cranberry juice, I decided to use cranberry juice.  I completely mixed the cranberry juice with four teaspoons of flour (leftover from the dredging).

I added some grape seed oil into the saucepan and then added the pieces of chicken to cook.  I covered the pan to reduce splattering (I still had to clean the range top), but I left the lid ajar so the steam could escape.  I cooked the thighs for five minutes on the first side and an additional four minutes after I turned the pieces.

Once the chicken was brown on each side and I hoped cooked through, I removed the chicken from the saucepan and set the chicken aside on a plate while I used the saucepan to make the rest of the recipe.  I added a little more grape seed oil to the pan and added the four cloves of minced garlic to cook.  Using a silicon spatula while cooking the garlic, I scraped as much of the leftover chicken and flour mixture off the bottom and sides of the pan.

I poured the flour/cranberry juice mixture into the pan, added the 3/4-cup of chicken broth and the 1/4-cups of dried cherries, and sliced pitted green olives.  The last ingredients to be added were the one-tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/2-teaspoon of dried oregano.  The recipe called for a full teaspoon, but that would have been too much and masked the taste of the other ingredients.

I stirred everything together and brought the contents to a boil.  I let it boil for about six minutes while I stirred about every thirty seconds.  Once the sauce thickened, I added the chicken and juices back into the pan.  I turned the chicken to coat the pieces with the sauce and then let everything heat together for about two minutes.

I had already prepared some cut asparagus and brown rice so I quickly sliced some tomatoes to add some color to the plate.  We placed the rice, chicken, asparagus, and tomatoes on the plate, then poured some of the sauce over the chicken and rice.

Wanting to see which one of the colors in our new plates looked best, we served the dinner on one of the dark blue plates and on one of the orange plates.  We decided that the dark blue plate looks the best for this meal.

The chicken was perfectly cooked.  It was moist and flavorful and the sauce had the sweetness of the dried cherries mixed with the tartness from the olives.  This is absolutely on our list of chicken thigh dishes to make again.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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