Thursday, September 6, 2007

Simple Braised Chicken

Today's recipe is almost on the line of the ridiculous as far as how easy it is. Literally, you drop ingredients into the pan. It could be considered difficult, if like me, you decide to dispatch a whole chicken, rather than use previously cut up chicken parts. However, I was quite successful. And other than missing the oyster on the first thigh, I think it also went rather quickly and efficiently.

This recipe comes from my New York Times Chicken Cookbook. I love this book. So far I've only had one dud recipe, and many other great repeaters. My favorite section happens to be the braising section. Well braised chicken can be moist and full of flavor, and all around wonderful if you're using a good recipe. I took my cut up chicken, seasoned it, and placed it in a cold skillet- large enough to hold the pieces side by side. Then I sprinkled on some sliced onion, sliced carrots, and a crushed clove of garlic. In a tiny bowl I combined turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, and then sprinkled that on the top. A cup of water was added to the pan, and then I covered it and simmered it for 30 minutes. A handful each of almonds and raisins was added and then it simmered for another 30 minutes.

Let me tell you, I really had my doubts! First, I eliminated the saffron from this recipe. if you have some you want to use, by all means, but thus far I am not a fan and don't have any on hand. Secondly, it used water to braise with. Water! I was really very close to using chicken stock to braise, but in the end I decided to follow the recipe and I'm so glad I did. The spices combined with the water and aromatics completely filled each and every bite of chicken with flavor. A wonderful earthy and slightly sweet flavor. The chicken was incredibly moist- right down to the chicken breast. The kids literally inhaled their chicken, I was surprised how delicious it was! I served it simply with plain white rice and then the pan sauce drizzled over that and the chicken. Heaven. I love the bites with raisin in it the best, actually. Accompanied by a pumpkin puree it was a decidedly fall dish that made itself. Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Raisins is, without a doubt, one of the best braised chicken dishes I've ever made. I'm looking forward to trying it with a larger, tougher stewing hen.

Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Raisins
by Moira Hodgson
from The New York Times Chicken Cookbook

1 3-pound chicken, cut up
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup whole peeled almonds
1/2 cup raisins

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Put them in a large heavy pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion, carrots and garlic

Sprinkle on the saffron, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Pour in the water, cover and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.

Add the almonds and raisins. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Keep an eye on the chicken during this stage and add more water if necessary.

Yield: 4 Servings


Deborah said...

This sounds delicious!!

Erika W. said...

It is! It is! Just thinking about it is making me hungry again. Well, that and it's almost lunch time.

swirlingnotions said...

So interesting! I always think of browning before braising (and I always add too much liquid to the pan), and I too would have been tempted to go with chicken stock. So to start out with a cold pan and raw ingredients and end up with chicken so good that kids inhale it is DEFINITELY worth a try in my book. Thanks!

And thanks for the link too, Erika! :-)


Erika W. said...

This was definitely a surprising recipe Lia. Although now that I think about it, I do wonder if browning would add anything...

And I only link to blogs I enjoy. ;-)