Braising is an often-overlooked cooking technique that works especially well for chicken.
This dish is incredibly versatile, low-maintenance and crowd-pleasing. The chicken becomes flavorful and tender as the braising liquid reduces to form a wonderful sauce for drizzling over rice, noodles or quinoa.
You can use bone-in chicken for a little more moisture and flavor (and a lot more work) or you can use bone-in or boneless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
The preparation here hints at a Mediterranean flavor palate, but can easily swing toward East Asia by swapping ginger for the oregano and soy for the lemon juice and zest. Or head to India by using lime juice and curry powder. Mexico calling your nombre? Go with lime, beer, cumin and hot pepper. For these three variations, use fresh cilantro for the garnish in place of the parsley.
4 boneless chicken breasts
½ stick margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1½ cups white wine
1½ cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh parsley to garnish
In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the margarine and sauté the garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest and oregano. When fragrant, add the chicken breasts and sear them on both sides.
Lower the heat, then add the broth, wine and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes until the chicken is tender and falls apart when poked with fork.
Check occasionally to ensure there is sufficient cooking liquid; if needed, add more wine and broth. The liquid should be reduced and slightly thickened. If this is not the case, turn up heat and boil it for 5 minutes to thicken/reduce sauce. And, if too much liquid has evaporated, add more wine and broth and cook briefly.
When done, pull the chicken apart with two forks, adjust the seasoning and serve.
Truffled Brussels Sprouts
These charred beauties are a lovely way to showcase a winter vegetable, and truffle oil brings a decadence not normally associated with the humble sprout. I know it is ruinous, but a little goes a long way, and you only use a drizzle at the end; we’re not roasting these in that liquid gold.
And if you don’t have any truffle oil on hand, the dish is just fine without it; straightforward roasted veggies can certainly stand on their own without enhancement.
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, rinsed, stems trimmed and sliced in half
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Place the prepared Brussels sprouts in a large baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle them with canola oil, salt and pepper, and toss well.
Roast for approximately 30 minutes until the sprouts are fully cooked and some of the edges are beginning to char.
Place the sprouts in a serving bowl and drizzle with truffle oil, tossing well. Serve hot or at room temperature.
For dessert, I would keep things extremely simple — the truffle oil has a richness that is quite filling, even in small doses. Consider squares of dark chocolate, fresh-cut melon or pineapple, or a simple fruit sorbet.