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braised chicken with shallots and tomatoes

Apparently French ovens were the hot item for Christmas gifts this year in my family.  My mom got one, my step-mom got one, Marc’s sister and future sister-in-law got one, and I got two.  No, I’m not spoiled.  It’s just that people who love me know me very, very well.  They know me so well that even though I didn’t drop any hints about wanting one (even though I was dying for one) they knew just what to get me.  And for the record: as badly as I wanted to, I didn’t keep both of them.  As cute as orange and green French ovens would look together, that would just be excessive.  

Of course I used my new French oven as soon as I could and I ended up loving it so much that I have used it three nights in a row.  I just can’t stop.  Maybe it’s the adorable orange color.  Maybe it’s the semi-workout I get just lifting it from my shelf to the oven.  Or maybe it’s the fact that it cooks so evenly and I feel like a real cook using it.  I don’t know, but I just want to keep using it and using it.  

First up: braised chicken thighs.  I braised my first piece of meat back when I made cabernet braised short ribs, but sadly I wasn’t able to get the complete braising experience since I didn’t have a pot that could go from stovetop to oven.  With my pretty new pot, I was ready to braise.  The method of braising is great for chicken because searing the outside and then slowly cooking it through over low heat results in tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken.  Ya just don’t get that with baked chicken breasts.  

This recipe for braised chicken appealed to me obviously because it was cooked in a French oven, but also because of it’s simplicity.  There are no fancy ingredients and was not much preparation work that I had to do, and I was able to let the French oven work its magic.  As expected, the chicken turned out incredibly moist but the sauce is what surprised me.  It is so simple, yet full of flavor!  The sauce gets most of its flavor from the shallots and dijon mustard, then the tomatoes added at the end cook down a bit and add another great texture to the entire dish.  Served with some roasted root vegetables, it ended up being a delicious and light Sunday night dinner.  

Braised Chicken with Shallots and Tomatoes
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast
serves 4

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb (about 12) small shallots, peeled and halved
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
Fresh tarragon leaves, for garnish

Directions:

Pat the chicken thighs dry, season with salt and pepper and coat with flour.  Shake off excess flour.

In french oven or 5 quart pot with lid, heat oil over medium high and cook chicken until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove chicken and set aside.  

Add shallots and garlic to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in mustard and water.  Bring to a boil.  Return the chicken to the pot, bone side down, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, 30-35 minutes.  

After chicken is cooked, transfer the chicken to a plate and loosely tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Add tomatoes to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook on high until sauce has thickened, about 6-8 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low and return chicken to pot.  Cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  Serve garnished with tarragon if desired.  

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  1. Braising is one of my favorite things to do in the wintertime! This looks fantastic and makes me want to take out my Dutch/French oven right now!

  2. Love the orange color of your new french oven. I have a teal color and I love it. I’ll definitely have to try this recipe.