Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spicy Braised Tomato Marjoram Chicken Thighs

I've posted about the recipe with cherry tomatoes and marjoram but it was a whole chicken, flattened, butterflied or spatchcocked, in another posting.  But now I've adapted the recipe to use this braising technique I tried from Cooks Illustrated ("Rethinking Braised Chicken") and I like it even better.

You need a good 12" skillet that you can throw into the oven to make this. If your skillet isn't 12" then don't use as many thighs.


1 C. white wine
1/2 C. chicken broth
4 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
Red pepper flakes (1.5 tsp if you're the cautious sort)
24-32 oz of cherry, plum or grape tomatoes.  (I usually buy two 16 oz packages)
2 T. of fresh chopped marjoram (I never bother to chop it, just use the leaves whole) -- save the stems.
8 chicken thighs
1/4 C. olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Mix together tomatoes, marjoram, garlic, red pepper flakes with the olive oil.

Get your pan nice and hot with a little oil in it.  Brown the thighs, skin-side down, for about 8 minutes or until they're nice and golden brown.  Turn them over and do them for 5 minutes on the other side. 

Remove the thighs and pour out most of the rendered fat (you might want to save it, schmaltz is good stuff). 

Add the wine and broth to the pan and let it boil a bit, loosen up any chicken bits sticking  to the pan. 

Put the thighs in the pan, skin-side up again.  Cover them with the tomato mixture. 

Cook at 375' for about 30 minutes. The tops of the thighs should be nicely browned and the tomatoes blistered.  You might need to blast it at 425' for 10 minutes towards the end if the tomatoes aren't quite done enough.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sous Vide equipment update

The 24-cup Black & Decker rice cooker I bought is very hard to find these days.  However, I have been eying a 38-cup Black & Decker rice cooker at  There is a review form someone who is using it in their sous vide setup and they say it works great.  It's only slightly more expensive than the 24-cup one was.

38-cup rice cooker link on (Price right now: $55)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Sous Vide Resources

Just compiling a list of resources for folks interested in coming up with their own setup.

My equipment:

Braised Chicken Thighs -- No flabby skin!

I can't post the recipe because it was in Cook's Illustrated (June 2010, Vol. 104, Pg. 18) but I can tell you about the method. Braising chicken always has the issue of flabby, floppy skin.  I adore chicken skin, but I don't like it to be flabby.  I prefer it crisp, although unless you reheat it in the oven, it won't be for the left-overs.  However, if you do everything right, it also won't be flabby or floppy.

The recipe I used has you put eight thighs in an oven proof skillet.  On medium-high heat you brown the skin side for 5-8 minutes, until... duh... brown!  Then you flip them and brown the other side for about 5 minutes.

Remove the thighs and drain off most of the rendered fat, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Put your braising liquid in the skillet.  The recipe had about 3 cups of liquid for a 12" pan that was cooked down a bit.  Put your thighs in the pan, skin side up.  Then put the pan in the oven at 325 degrees for about 1 hour 15 minutes.  The meat should not be so over cooked it falls off the bone.

If the liquid is bubbling to vigorously then lower the heat until it is barely bubbling.

I stored the resulting thighs separately from their braising liquid so they wouldn't get mushy in the fridge.  But I reheat them together.

The CI recipe was pretty complicated but I think it this technique could work nicely for other braised chicken applications.

Oh yes, be sure to use thighs with the skin!  Thighs stay moister than breasts and they're the right thickness for this treatment.  And of course you want to skin because it's so delicious and it keeps the thighs moist on top.