The humble chicken thigh was overlooked in my early culinary adventures.
Chicken wings were my go-to since I was old enough to appreciate ranch, and became even more succulent as I acquired the taste for bleu cheese. Chicken breasts were obvious and “what Mom used to make,” plain, straight-forward and always reliable (read: boring). And legs/drumsticks were a go-to for any grill session. As I became adventurous, even the liver was incredible – pâté was a revelation as I hit 30 years old and is still unique & funky when I imbibe. The oyster was a recent discovery when I started grabbing those grocery store rotisserie beasts to-go; I’d immediately rip the breast flesh open to find that bite-sized delicacy on each bird. But the thigh. . .well, it was basically exposed to me when my wife one day bought thighs inadvertently and produced a stunning maple syrup/mustard hybrid. The tender, meaty chicken was so delicious that my eyes were opened anew and I was agog for this once-forsaken chicken part.
Now, thighs are my preferred choice. But always wanting to keep my recipes sui generis in our household, I uncovered this beauty of a recipe from SkinnyTaste, which is quite ironic – because it tastes rich, creamy and memorable. It’s technically French (poulet au vinaigre), but it’s not technique-heavy. And as usual, I altered it to kick up the spice and the sweetness – and I added mushrooms. It’s a two-pan meal, and it takes about 30 minutes all-in. Super, super easy for a family, a couple, or even a bachelor(ette?) that doesn’t mind a few (awesome) leftover meals. Enjoy.
- 1 lb., chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
- cracked black pepper
- brown sugar
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- approx. 2 cups, sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 tbsp mexican crema
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- season chicken liberally with salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, brown sugar.
- in a dutch oven, combine vinegar, honey, 3/4 cup chicken broth and tomato paste. Boil about 5 minutes until it reduces into a viscous paste and remove from heat.
- while sauce is reducing, heat a large skillet and melt butter over medium-low heat and add chicken.
- cook on both sides, until brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- remove chicken & place directly into the tomato sauce.
- add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook on medium until soft, about 4 minutes.
- add the mushrooms and EVOO and cook down for another minute.
- pour contents of skillet into the dutch oven with the chicken, add the wine, remaining broth and a sprinkle more of salt and pepper.
- cover and simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes, depending on desired tenderness (thighs don’t tend to overcook; they just get more tender).
- remove the chicken, add mexican crema and stir into the sauce.
- return chicken to dutch oven.
- add fresh parsley.
- be amazed that you can make an awesome French dish in less time it would take you to watch Chopped.