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Author Notes: Cooking with chicken thighs is a great way to provide rich flavor, tenderness, and protein on a shoestring budget. The chicken for this dish costs less than $2. And if you find a "buy one, get one or two free" sale, then you can feed your whole neighborhood. - Sagegreen
Serves 4 (to even 8)
- 2 pounds free-range, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds or pollen
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground peppercorns, preferably pink
- 1 splashes olive oil
- 1 ounce German speck or pancetta, cut up (optional)
- One 3-inch knob peeled ginger, cut into matchsticks
- 1 pinch sea salt, plus more as needed
- 1 to 2 large vidalias or other sweet onion, cut into thin rings, then quartered
- Peel of 1 sweet orange, cut into matchsticks
- Peel of 1 Meyer lemon, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup matchstick-cut, fresh fennel bulb (optional)
- 2 to 3 ample stalks fresh rhubarb, diced
- 1 pinch Saigon cinnamon
- 1 cup dry white cooking wine
- 2 cups homemade chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, or as needed
- 3 cups cooked, warm medium-grain brown rice
- Quartered slices orange and lemon, without rind, for garnish
- 1 handful chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- 1 squeeze Meyer lemon, to serve
- Before I started this recipe I began my brown rice using a simple oven method to be ready in 1 hour. Then to begin this recipe sprinkle the ground fennel and pepper on the dry chicken thighs. Heat a large braising pan with a touch of olive oil. Brown the chicken thighs with the optional speck or pancetta and ginger matchsticks. Season with salt. Turn the chicken thighs over to brown on the other side. When both sides have a golden color, remove to a platter and let rest. Wipe out the pan.
- Add another splash of olive oil and bring the pan to medium high. Add the onions.Have at least one and a half cups of cut onions. Saute slowly until translucent. Stir in the orange and lemon peel (with pith removed) and cook for about 3 minutes. Take off heat. (If you happened to have half a cup of fennel bulb you could add these cut matchstick style as another additional option). Stir in the rhubarb and the cinnamon.
- Return the chicken, speck and ginger to the pan. Return to heat. Pour in the wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. Whisk the mustard and maple syrup together with the broth. Stir that in and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook slowly for about 40-50 minutes until the liquid reduces by almost half. Add more liquid if needed. Season with sea salt if needed. Taste and adjust for the sweet/sour balance you like: Add a tiny splash of cider vinegar if too sweet, or a touch more maple syrup if too tart.
- To serve, create a bed of the rice on each plate. Nest the chicken thigh in the center. Lather the onions, rhubarb and citrus peels on top. Squeeze with fresh lemon; season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and rindless citrus wheels. To stretch this further, you could also debone the chicken first and serve twice as many folks.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner
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