"So... we rub the chicken thighs? Like touch it?" asks my 19 year old cousin, who was hovering around me during a spontaneous cooking lesson during her visit from Toronto.
"Yes, haha, you touch it. Fatty bits and all!"
With a second glass of wine in us and in my tiny, first apartment kitchen in San Francisco, we burst into a fit of grape-induced giggles. "Fatty bits! Fatty bits!"
As we browned the tasty chicken thigh skins, the silly song erupted -- an operatic cacophony... the ode to tasty, browned, fatty bits.
A recipe that has been perfected over many cold, foggy San Francisco evenings for the past 6 years. —vernabee
Chicken Thighs, bone in and skin on
Sprinkle of Ground Pepper
Can of Diced Roasted Tomatoes
Yellow Onion, sliced thin
Minced Sweet Cherry Peppers in brine (the kind in the jars found where the Olives are)
Red Pepper Chili Flakes (optional)
In This Recipe
Pat dry your chicken thighs and leave the "fatty bits" on :)
Heat your olive oil on Medium-High in an oven safe pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cumin on both sides. When the oil is hot, place the chicken thighs skin down and get a nice brown crust going - this should take about 3-4 minutes. Turn the chicken and brown the bottom as well, for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside for later.
In the same pan, add your sliced onions and saute until golden brown. Then add your garlic and minced sweet peppers and saute for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 7-8 minutes, until most of the water is gone and they are almost cooked through. Mix everything together well.
Add the red wine, mix well, and let reduce for 3-4 minutes. Then add the balsamic, mix well and let reduce for another 3-4 minutes. Finally add the canned tomatoes and mix everything together nicely. Even out the mixture, and place the chicken thighs skin side up in the pan. Don't crowd them too much!
Add enough chicken stock to the pan to raise the liquid level, but don't cover that beautiful crisped chicken skin! Just up to the skin will be wonderful, and you'll get the benefits of braising without soggy, crispy, operatic fatty bits :) Place the pan (open) on the middle rack in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
When finished, remove the chicken pieces and set on a platter. Put the pan back on the stove burner and medium high and reduce the leftover stock for about 5 minutes, adding the red chili flakes and half a teaspoon of salt to taste. Spoon the wonderfulness on top of the chicken and serve!
Note: The leftover sauce is to die for. I love mixing it in with pasta, scrambled eggs, or sauteing it with some spicy sausage the next day.