Praise for the Braise!
So I get to the kitchen after a long and busy day and stand there thinking...what the heck am I gonna make for dinner? I've got no clue. Plus I am BORED with the go-to stuff I usually rely on. Ugh.
Have you ever heard that having staple items in your pantry are your best friend when it comes to dinner challenges? Guess what? It's true! I always have onions, garlic, spaghetti sauce and bread in there. I also shop the sales. What with the prices going up on practically EVERYTHING, it's super important to read the grocery circulars and figure out who has the best deal going on.
For tonight's challenge I used four bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs that are organic and all natural feed from Foster Farms. I grabbed a jar of Trader Joes Organic spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, 5 whole cloves of garlic and some olive oil. I reached for my trusty deep dish non stick pan and preheated my oven to 375. I let my chicken thighs warm up to room temp before I cook them. I also pat them dry and season them with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and start up the stove on high. Once the oil shimmers (not smokes!!!) I turn the heat to medium and add my chicken skin side down. I sprinkle the sides that are now right side up in the pan with more salt and pepper. I leave a lid on the pan ajar, it sure helps with any splatters. Let this cook for a while until the skin is nice and crispy brown. Ok to check every now and then.
While those are cooking, peel off the garlic skins and crush the whole garlic cloves slightly to release some of the oils. You'll be saving one clove for something else...I'll let you know.
Flip the chicken and let the raw side cook for just a little bit. Add your sauce to the pan by pouring it AROUND the chicken, not on top of the chicken. You want to keep that beautiful crispy skin! Plop in a few garlic cloves that you've crushed, four or five, plopped evenly throughout the pan. Put the entire pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, slice up some ciabatta or a french baguette and slather on some salted butter. Arrange them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once the chicken is done (the sauce will have reduced a bit) remove the pan from the oven to your stove top to cool and turn the oven on to broil. Put your bread in and keep an eye on it. Toast it up a bit and when you remove it (here's the best part) slice your reserved garlic clove in half and rub the raw side on top of the browned bread. The heat from the bread releases the garlic oil! Now you have garlic bread! Which is super important so that you can eat your delicious chicken with the super yummy sauce AND dip your bread in the sauce too!
One pan, One very tasty meal! Sprinkle with fresh basil if you want even MORE flavor!