Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs

I like the idea of buying in bulk. In practice it doesn’t always work out. The 300-count of Excedrin looked like a good deal until the bottle expired with more than half left. The 30 pack of boxed tissues is great until you have to store it. And the frozen chicken thighs, 4 to a pack, 8 to an order, seem like a great thing to keep in the freezer until you get tired of seared chicken thighs with a pan sauce.

Tonight I had a package of thawed chicken thighs, the last of a jar of store-bought sofrito and some homemade tomato sauce. So I present for your consideration…

Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 75 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Goya sofrito
  • 3 cups tomato sauce (homemade or otherwise)
  • 1 lb. large elbow pasta
  • Parmesan cheese (optional but tasty)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat for about 1 minute. Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Place seasoned side down in the pot. Avoid crowding if possible. Salt and pepper the unseasoned side (which should be up).
  2. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken releases from the pan without a lot of tugging. Flip the chicken and brown the second side for 3-4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate when they release easily.
  3. Add the sofrito to the pan and scrap up any chicken bits that stuck to the pan. Add the tomato sauce and about 1 cup of water. Mix to combine. You want a loose sauce at this point.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot, nestling the thighs into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Flip the chicken in the sauce and try to submerge it. Recover, leaving the lid off a bit to allow some steam to escape. Cook for another 20 minutes.
  6. While the chicken cooks bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. Be sure to add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the pasta water.
  7. When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook according to the package. While the pasta cooks remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with 2 forks. Return shred meat to the sauce and stir.
  8. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Stir so that all the pasta is covered with a bit of sauce.
  9. Serve up with a bit of Parmesan cheese and a little extra cracked black pepper.

Notes:
I used grape seed oil but any oil will do really. Butter wouldn’t be the best choice as it has a lower smoke point though if you mixed with a bit of vegetable oil you’d be fine.

You could chop the chicken into 1/2″ pieces. I thought the shredded chicken went better with the elbows.

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Succotash

My parents introduced me to succotash in my early 30s. My dad was trying to come up with the “perfect” recipe to take to pot luck dinners they attended. I decided to give it a try one week when I was in want of something different. I turned to the recipe in the Joy of Cooking and liked the results.

Over the years I have developed my own recipe roughly based on that recipe from Joy of Cooking. It has become the default side dish we serve with pierogies.

Recipe under the cut

Saturday night – 02/16/2013

Take a trip with me to two weeks ago when we basically had the same menu for Saturday night dinner. When I planned that meal I forgot that little Miss V, whose birthday we celebrate this week, has a thing for

Menu
Baked kielbasa and linguica
Potato & Onion Pierogies with caramelized onions and sour cream
Succotash
Roast Beets
Homemade Bread, in a “Eastern European-style”

Purple marble birthday cake

Notes under the cut

Recipe Review: Low-Fat Fudgy Brownies

Podcasts are one of the many blessings of the Internet (seriously).  Among other things they make it possible to keep up with radio programs I am never around to hear when they are broadcast over the airwaves.  One of my favorites is America’s Test Kitchen Radio, from the producers of Cook’s Illustrated. I enjoy the call in segment the most; it’s kind of fun to guess what Chris and Bridget are going to give me answers.

Toward the end of the show they give a radio rundown of a recipe makeover. One of the test kitchen cooks explains how they took something general not-so-good and made it better. On the most recent episode I listened to the recipe was for low-fat fudgy brownies. It peaked my interest because, well, I like a fudgy brownie and low-fat isn’t a dirty phrase if it tastes good.

I made them this past Friday night while I waited for the blizzard that hit New England to rev up to full speed. The results were pretty good. I’ll give them high marks for the fudgy descriptor. Even several days later they were still moist and left a bit of brownie on the knife as I sliced it.

The chocolate flavor was a bit muted. That’s most likely my fault for using chocolate that was past its prime. They made a tasty brownie sundae; there goes the low-fat. 🙂

Give them a try when you have a chance and let me know what you think.

Recipe link: Low-Fat Fudgy Brownies

Caramelized onion, Bacon and Spinach Pizza

We had some caramelized onions left over from dinner last weekend and I got it in my head that they should go on a pizza. After a bit of digging through the Internet I decided to add some spinach and bacon. I couldn’t decide whether to use a sauce, and if I sauced what kind to use. In the end I opted for no sauce. The result was tasty and filling.

[caramelized onion pizza]

Recipe under the cut

Baked Samosas

Samosas are basically a potato patty covered in dough. They are typically deep fried and can be served with chutney or yogurt. I made these as part of menu this past Saturday night and wanted something baked rather than fried. I love these fried however I didn’t want to stand next to a pot of hot oil for as long as it would take to cook enough of these to feed our usual crowd.

[Baked Samosas]

After a bit of web searching I settled on this recipe. After making several guesses to make up for missing info in the recipe the end result was something that looked a bit like a small pita pocket filled with a tasty filling. All but 3 of 24 were consumed by 8 people, including 3 kids, as part of a large meal. I consider that a success.

Recipe under the cut