07 November 2015

Something In Between

I bought a cake plate/ cake dome this week, and a few Williams Sonoma coupons later, it's here and I can't stop looking at it (that's Smitten Kitchen's red wine cake under there, which is an extremely tasty use for the last of a bottle). Now, if my kitchen, which can't even support a pot rack, is of evidence, it doesn't take having certain pans and platters around for me to turn on the oven--- but I can say with confidence that having a cake dome around is a definitive push to have something under it at most times. In addition to that cake, it also housed some of these for a few days. It brings comfort, instills a welcoming spirit, and makes you feel a little bit fancy. And sometimes, we all need some of that to keep us going. 

What I'm sharing today is my go-to chicken thigh recipe I mentioned in my last post. In contrast to that one, this one can be thought of at the last second--no marinating needed--and, in my opinion, it's something to lean on. It's not about crispy skin, something that I've learned, I'm willing to sacrifice for the participation of a smoke alarm, as long as we're in our current space. This is about tenderness, and trusting the sauce--a seemingly odd blend of shallots, garlic, soy, brown sugar, red wine vinegar and oil to do their thing-- to create an umami that while being striking in taste, also manages to be almost a blank canvas--neither Asian nor French, but something in between, something really good. 

I typically serve with some kind of root, butternut cubes, sweet potato chunks or white potatoes, or even just a salad. Because of all at play with the flavors, I just trim the skin right off--hacking first to just enough to protect the meat before it goes into the oven, and then peeling off that little strip all together after it's rested, to pour on some sauce. At that point the skin and bones have done their job to deliver the juicy meat. And that is about all I can ask from chicken. 

Shallot Chicken Thighs
Adapted from David Lebovitz and other sources

Notes: Originally I found this recipe somewhere on Pinterest with a title of "the only roast chicken recipe you'll ever need," then read further it was sourced back to David L. It's gone through some evolution since him, notably getting a dash of sugar, and while a whole chicken cut up, or any parts, are suggested, I always do a package of thighs. Much more uniform in my opinion. I like to trim the skin to decrease fat. The sauce gives enough heft.

4 chicken thighs, medium, trimmed of excess fat and skin (I like Bell & Evens)
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 small shallots, minced
1 good sized clove garlic, minced/pressed
Salt + Pepper
Minced Parsley to serve
*Splash of white wine 

Place trimmed chicken in a roasting dish large enough to hold them in a single layer but snugly. Let them sit to take their chill off while you prepare the rest. Heat oven to 425 F. Mix all sauce ingredients. Generously season the chicken on both sides with a nice big pinch salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over and turn thighs in the dish with tongs a few times to coat well. Roast 30 minutes skin side up. Remove pan from oven and baste once, then flip thighs to be skin side down. Roast another 10-15 minutes, until cooked through to 175. Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes in the pan, then remove the thighs to plate tented with foil to rest further. Pour some of the fat off the pan and reduce sauce a bit on the stove top, adding the wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until a bit thicker. Serve sauce on the side to pour/dip into. Sprinkle parsley.

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