Braised chicken thighs with tomato and garlic

I love long, drawn-out recipes. I love the anticipation of a pork shoulder roasting in the oven for ragu or a beef stew simmering on the stove. So, not surprisingly, one of the other things I love about winter is how my cooking changes.

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Don’t get me wrong — all the beautiful produce that’s available in spring and summer is pretty tempting.  I could never pass up a juicy mango or a perfectly-ripe tomato.

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As soon as those summer fruits are gone, though, I’m anxiously awaiting the day when the temperature falls just enough for me to cook something low and slow without feeling like my apartment is a sauna.

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This recipe is what I cook on that day. It takes far less time than a stew or ragu, but still gives me the warmth I’m looking for. Braising is an excellent way to cook bone-in chicken thighs — it takes their usual tender and juicy nature and turns it up a notch.

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Plus, this recipe is resilient. I often add whatever I’m feeling (and/or whatever is languishing in my fridge) that day: mushrooms, onions, carrots, green beans, potatoes, whatever. It always turns out great.

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Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Garlic
adapted from Food52

Not shockingly (we never agree on anything), 3 out of 4 Osimiri siblings approve this recipe (the fourth has yet to try it). This sibling suggests you make it tonight.

4 chicken thighs, bone-in
1 tsp olive oil
Salt, black pepper, your spice of the day*
3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
10 oz canned tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock (low sodium) or white wine
1 sprig thyme, optional
1 bay leaf, optional
2-3 cups additional vegetables, chopped

Pat chicken thighs dry (for crispier skin!). Season on all sides with salt, black pepper, and your spice of the day (mine is often cayenne, for a little kick). Heat olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate and pour off most of the fat (leave about a tablespoon!) from the pan. Turn down heat to medium-low and add garlic, onions, and any additional vegetables, chopped into small-ish pieces (see mushrooms above, chopped to about the size of a quarter). Cook until all vegetables begin to soften. Add canned tomatoes, chicken stock/wine, and spices (salt, pepper, etc). Turn up the heat to medium-high until liquid simmers, and scrape any fond (the brown bits on the bottom of the pan) as the liquid heats up. Add thyme and bay leaf, if using, and place the chicken thighs in the sauce, skin side up. Partially cover the pan and turn down the heat so the sauce simmers gently. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run clear when poked. Serve over something carb-y and delicious.

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