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Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Garlic

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Merrill's baby Clara is finally old enough to eat solid foods. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, Merrill steps into the fray.

Today: Chicken on the bone makes great finger food!

Clara eating braised chicken

Kids like chicken fingers. I feel pretty confident saying that. They're salty, they're crunchy, and it's acceptable to eat them with your hands.

Every week, I see parents in my neighborhood who wouldn't be caught dead at McDonald's tucking boxes of frozen organic chicken fingers into their shopping carts. My mother, who raised us almost entirely on homemade meals from scratch, made killer baked chicken fingers crusted with herbed breadcrumbs -- and my sister and I always requested them for our birthday parties.

Clara eating braised chicken

We have yet to give Clara chicken fingers (you can be sure that when we do I'll ask my mother for her recipe), but we've found a reasonable substitute. She didn't show much interest in chicken until I did two things: braised it with tomatoes (a magic ingredient that makes all other foods more desirable), and let her eat it off the bone. Now chicken is one of her favorite foods.

These days, I make a big batch of chicken thighs braised in tomatoes and garlic every week. We put on Clara's smock/bib and give her a thigh, and she gnaws at the meat like a little terrier until the bone is scraped clean. Once she's in bed, we enjoy shallow bowls of braised chicken thighs with tomatoey garlicky juices over orzo.

Win win.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Garlic

Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

Serves 4

8 chicken thighs on the bone, skin-on
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
20 ounces canned chopped tomatoes (I prefer tetra-pack)
1 cup chicken stock (homemade or low sodium)
2 sprigs thyme
Orzo or rice for serving

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

Tags: cooking for clara, braised chicken thighs with tomato and garlic, make ahead, baby food, everyday cooking

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Comments (24)


over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My son would devour one, then reach for more. The daughter preferred smashing mashed potatoes or rice into her mouth/onto her face/into her hair. Today at 23, she continues to pursue a vegetarian diet.


over 2 years ago KellyA

I read. I made. I devoured. That was delicious, thank you!!!!


over 2 years ago Mama Lee

When my girls were little (now 35, 33 and 25) a chicken leg or thigh was a favorite. Our eldsest held onto a thigh bone for about a week once when she was teething. Life simple pleasures are the best!


over 2 years ago erskinechef

Thanks for this recipe and please post the chicken finger recipe when you receive it, my kids love chicken fingers!


over 2 years ago kate h

Precious little one you have. I remember when my oldest was 5 years old he kept asking me for chicken on a stick like his friends mom would make. I had no idea what he was talking about--turns out it was a drumstick! The only chicken I ever cooked with and he knew about were boneless breasts! We still laugh about chicken on a stick! This looks like a lovely quick and easy adult meal.


over 2 years ago LaurieinTO

When my son was a toddler he called drumsticks "chicken on the cob", since corn was another favourite.


over 2 years ago Lorenza

Can't tell if C is a lefty or a righty. She is so precocious I am betting she may be ambidextrious ;-o)))


over 2 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Ah, she's so cute ! Love the story....


over 2 years ago mbj913

all these posts of yours on baby food inspired me to post on whole grain baby cereals.


over 2 years ago mcs3000

Beautiful pics! btw: I could use an adult version of that bib. Would save a ton on dry cleaning.


over 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

I know you're joking, but because I wear what I eat, I do use an adult bib>some beautiful fabric napkins/dish clothes from April Cornell. just sayin'!


over 2 years ago HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

What a good eater she is! You must be so relieved.


over 2 years ago nlgeiger

This made me smile - our "little girl" just got her license and we still call it chicken on the bone! She relished hers the same way!


over 2 years ago glammie

I make something very similar ... brown the thighs and then add onions, garlic, tomatoes, wine, stock and lentils. Braise for an hour ... done.


over 2 years ago mariaraynal

Clara is cuter than cute. Those giant blue eyes! Love this series.


over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Adorable. Clara. Talented. James. The bone rules!


over 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

on the 52 Home Page,under your 'clara' entry today, i saw the next feature as 'clarified butter'. sounds like some good pun opportunities to me, yes?!


over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I just can't get over how she has grown and is so so beautiful. Lucky little lady has an amazing array of foods and she looks like she is really enjoying that chicken thigh, It's a wonderful recipe, would love a bowl right now. Looks delicious.


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Clara clearly has excellent taste, enjoying a little bone gnawing! And she pulls it off way more adorably than I think any of the rest us manage to.


over 2 years ago Brette Warshaw

These photos are priceless.


over 2 years ago bluejeangourmet

I wanted to say that this series has been so helpful and inspiring to me; I have a seven month old, and after just one month of eating solids, he's now eating modified versions of our meals. That was my goal after reading about Clara's eating adventures, so I wanted to thank you for your ideas and straightforward approach. In a world where the topic of what and how to feed your baby seems to quickly devolve into ideological warfare, this series is so refreshing. Not to mention, it's an added joy to watch that beautiful baby girl grow!


over 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

What a nice comment -- so glad this has been helpful to you. I think we're all just doing our best to muddle through...


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

A little terrier. That kills me! The picture is, as always, priceless. I wish we could get her and Ginger side by side with their chicken - Ginger prefers a raw wing drumette - no tomato. That would be a photo to remember :-)


over 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.