In an effort to balance out my sugar rebound from the holidays, I immediately got to work on a dish that would be warm, satisfying and serve as perfect leftovers during the week.
Oh, I surely ate an abundance of sweets, which I shared last week. You should definitely try your hand at that Brûléed Marshmallow and Caramel Custard Tart. Once you’ve polished it off, which won’t take long, fire up the oven again for this braised chicken entrée that will be just as delicious as all the sweets.
I have this white, shallow Le Creuset braiser that I snagged at the end of a televised food shoot. It was slightly knicked with a few scratches on the lid, but I definitely walked away with a treasure. Ironically, I already owned a heavy Dutch oven that just happened to always be at arm’s reach whenever I needed to slow cook a meal. That white braiser was the star of the show once or twice, but after a few years, that was its highest tally of use. When I was preparing to make this braised chicken dish, I decided it was finally time to dust off the old goods.
It’s definitely winter here in L.A., and all I can think about is comfort food. This is different than the indulgent comfort foods we all enjoy during the holidays. I’m talking about midweek and weekend delights that feel hearty and belly-filling without as much guilt and no sugar-high. I just happened to see that Le Creuset has designated January as Braising Awareness Month, which I find hilariously appropriate. All you need is a little patience when it comes to braising because you often need to sear the meat and cook vegetables in stages before adding liquid and cooking for a bit of time. This recipe includes soft, quick cooking (or previously cooked) vegetables, which eliminates at least one step from the process. The final dish is a flavorful and fragrant ode to comfort food at its best.
Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons grapeseed oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on, trimmed
4 chicken legs, bone-in and skin-on
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
28 ounces diced tomatoes, with juice
6 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 cup chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Pour both oils into a braising pot or Dutch oven. Heat over a medium-high flame until bubbling hot.
Sprinkle half of the salt and pepper over the bottom of the pot, then carefully add all of the chicken, skin-side down. Season the meat with the remaining salt and pepper. Sear for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip, and sear the opposite side for 3-5 minutes.
While the second side of the chicken cooks, add the garlic, red onions and mushrooms, tucking the vegetables into the spaces between each piece of meat.
Next, add the tomatoes, whole thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and bring to a low boil. Cover the pot, and carefully slide it into the oven.
Bake for 90 minutes, then remove the pot from the oven. Uncover, and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve alongside rice, polenta or your favorite grain.