Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HIghlight #258: Cure for rainy day blues

Rainy days such as this just feels blah, especially when it happens so early in the week. Why not perk it up with something strong yet comforting. How does a simple version of 40 cloves chicken sound?

This is normally a stove top dish, but I like to leave things in the oven to free up time for other things. As such, I've tweaked this dish for oven preparation. With oven preheating to 350, I seared up two whole chicken legs (salted and peppered). Breasts are fine also, but in this house, we like flavorful meat.

Once the chicken is seared to my liking (skin side darkened, but not charred), I remove them and add in a whole bunch of garlic cloves. There is no need to count to 40, just eyeball it. Toast the cloves to a nice golden color then drop in a bunch of thyme leaves. I like thyme with chicken so in went about ten sprigs worth of leaves. Following that, a glass of white wine was also added. At this point, it's a good idea to let it reduce a bit before seasoning with some salt and pepper. This braising liquid sounds really simple, but the garlic and thyme combo does something magical in the oven, I swear.

At this point, put the chicken back in, skin side up (the underside is much better at absorbing flavors) and stick in the oven for an hour.

In the mean time, I like to cook a veggie dish with the leftover thyme and a pot of brown rice. This time, I had mushrooms and celery on hand, so they went into a pot together with a bit of concentrated chicken stock and a splash of dashi. Towards the end, I salted and peppered the softened the veggie.

The results are super comforting and really quite good for both body and soul. And you'll be amaze how many whole garlics you can eat without taking a break.

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