Alex Guarnaschelli is one of those Food Network stars that I would just love to meet. I stalk her instagram account and Facebook page to see everything she’s cooking up in the kitchen. My favorite posts are those in which she states her cravings – from bacon and pancakes, to ice cream and salad. I even follow the instagram account for her restaurant Butter. As if eating at her establishment wasn’t already on my bucket list, seeing photos of gourmet burgers, elegant breakfasts, and creative desserts makes me wish I could hop on a plane to NYC at the drop of a hat.
Two Christmases ago I received her first cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. I’ve already shared her Breaded Chicken with Mustard and Sherry. Today I’m sharing another chicken dish. Alex titled this recipe Braised Chicken Legs with Ginger and Tomato. I’ve renamed it as you can see in today’s post title. I bought only thighs for this dish as a combination of thighs and drumsticks wasn’t available at my grocery store. I also found that the cinnamon flavor profile was stronger than the ginger. You might think it’s weird to cook chicken with cinnamon, but trust me on this one. No, trust Alex! She says:
“[My mom] edited an amazing Indian cookbook that made her revise the chicken tomato combo and add hauntingly flavorful spices like cinnamon, which evokes the sweetness of the tomatoes.”
I hardly ever cook with chicken thighs. My mom is a bone-less, skin-less chicken breast kind of girl and so that’s what I am also accustomed to, and what I usually buy when chicken is on my list. It’s easy. Because using dark meat isn’t something I’m exactly comfortable with, I’m never convinced I’ve cooked it completely. White meat is more obvious – zero pink and juices run clear. Dark meat doesn’t turn white. And when there’s a bone involved there’s usually some red/pink close to the bone which always makes me paranoid that I didn’t really cook it through all the way. I bought a giant pack of chicken thighs though, so there’s lot of practice in my future.
For this dish, I was really excited when my chicken skins were crispy after browning them. But then they get braised and that crispy skin is no more. Keeping the skin on the chicken though helps ensure that the meat won’t dry out.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Cinnamon and Tomato
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1″ piece of ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 C white wine
- 1 can (14 oz) peeled whole tomatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- In a large, high-sided skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Season both sides of chicken with S+P and red pepper flakes. Add to the hot oil skin-side down. Brown for 8 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add the onions and stir in the cumin. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Add in the white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and cook simmer 10 minutes.
- Gently break up the tomatoes. Return the chicken to the pan. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in butter and remove cinnamon and bay leaf. Serve with wild rice.
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