Braised Chicken with Leeks
As summer winds down and we enter the between-seasons period of late September, one craves something more warm and comforting, but it’s still pretty warm, so heating up the kitchen too much is not a good idea.
This dish it perfect for the weather—it is only in the oven for 45 minutes, so it won’t heat up your kitchen like other heavier braised dishes, but it still fits the bill for comfort food as it starts to get chillier outside.
This dish is also proof that ugly food is often the most delicious. I added some fresh thyme leaves to the top to give it some color, but I’m not quite sure that helped. It probably also didn’t help that my regular camera was dead so I had to use my phone’s camera. But it really doesn’t matter. The sauce is so good that I could have eaten it as a soup, and the chicken stayed incredibly moist and delicious.
I used chicken thighs here because they stay moister than chicken breasts would, but also because legs are generally less expensive; if you want to use chicken breasts, you would have to cut the cooking time down. I also use half & half to finish the sauce, though if you’re looking for more richness, then use heavy cream. It’s just a personal preference of mine since half & half has less fat and can usually (but not always) be used in a sauce without much textural difference.
I served this with brown rice, but it would also be great over pasta or polenta, or with a side salad and bread.
Braised Chicken with Leeks
Ingredients — Serves 4:
4 whole chicken legs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
4 leeks, white and light green parts, washed and sliced
1 14-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup + 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup half & half
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet with a lid over high heat. When hot, add in chicken pieces skin side down and sear until golden, about 5 minutes per side.
3. Remove to a plate and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, leeks, and onion to pan and sauté until the mixture starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Then add ¼ cup chicken broth and scrape bottom to deglaze the pan. Simmer until reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
4. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, cannellini beans, and lemon juice to the pan, season to taste, and stir to combine. Then add chicken pieces, skin side up. Cover and place into preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
5. Turn off the oven and remove skillet. Remove chicken to a sheet pan and put back in the oven to keep warm.
6. Put skillet back on the stove over medium heat and simmer until sauce is of desired thickness, about 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat and add the half & half. Serve the sauce over the chicken.
By: Jessica Verderame
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