The sauce under the bird is divine. I wish you could see it in this photo! But, it is snuggling with other really good stuff.
Trust me, it’s under there!
I adore the flavors in this chicken dish. Herbs and olives, capers and anchovies team up to create chicken and its surrounding sauce with addictive deliciousness. And chicken thighs bought in bulk, skin-on and bone-in, are one of the least expensive meat sources in the meat case.
Most dishes that require brining I categorize as company dishes. But in quarantine times, I am home most of the day, so a few hours of brining is no big deal.
Try making the brine the night before, and then add the chicken to the chilled brine in the morning. Once out of the brine in the evening, the dish takes about 40 minutes to prepare. No biggie, most of the time it’s gently cooking without any supervision. Ahhhhh…
Alternative Strategy: Yes, the recipe says to leave chicken in brine in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours. But I have been in a time crunch a couple of times and have brined it for only 2 hours and the dish is absolutely delicious.
Serve with some crusty artisan-style bread to sop up the wonderful sauce.
The recipe is adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
CHICKEN THIGHS BRAISED with HERBS, OLIVES and CAPERS
Yield: 4 (2-thigh) servings
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cups water
1 small white onion, cut top-to-bottom into 3/4-inch wedges
6 garlic cloves, smashed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
10 ice cubes
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, excess side fat cut off and discarded (I use kitchen scissors)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1/2 cup dry white wine, divided use
4 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
6 anchovy fillets, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
2 small white onions, peeled, cut top to bottom into 6 wedges with root end attached
4 sprigs oh fresh thyme
6 to 8 medium pitted Castelvetrano olives (confession = although I generally have Castelvetrano olives in my fridge, pitting them takes some time, so often I use just plain old pitted green ripe pitted olives – I use more – about 10 or so, because they are smaller and have less oomph
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
- Brine: Combine coriander seeds and fennel seeds in a small skillet; toast on medium-high heat about 1- to 1 1/2- minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to large pot. Add 2 cups water, onion, garlic, and salt. Bring to boil on high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Add ice and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes (it should be cold, if not add more ice and wait for it to cool completely.)
- Place chicken in brine. Cover and chill at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours. Remove chicken from brine, pat dry and sprinkle with a little coarse salt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large (5 quart) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (I have a Dutch oven that is really wide, so I can do 8 chicken thighs at once – but most Dutch ovens aren’t as wide as mine … so) Add 4 thighs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken thighs. Return browned chicken to Dutch oven and arrange in a single layer. Add 1/4 cup wine, garlic and anchovies. Scatter onions over chicken. Cook until wine has mostly evaporated , about 3 minutes, shaking Dutch oven occasionally to ensure chicken isn’t sticking. Add thyme sprigs and remaining 1/4 cup wine. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until chicken is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 165 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and top with olives, capers and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. To serve, place 2 thighs on each of 4 plates. Drizzle with pan juices and sprinkle with parsley and basil. I like to serve this dish with crusty artisan bread for sopping up the lovely juices. And, a crisp citrus-y chilled Sauvignon Blanc.