Ah yes, braising when it’s 100 degrees out. You must think I’m crazy. Well, to be honest, I am a little crazy, but this recipe is actually from a few months back when it wasn’t so disgustingly hot out. It just made its way off my camera a little late.
Braising is awesome. It’s true. It leaves meat so tender and flavorful and it really doesn’t take a lot of effort. And it doesn’t have to just be for red meat. Braising chicken thighs is a great alternative. They have tons of flavor, and the combination of the bone and dark meat make them incredibly moist so they don’t dry out. Mushrooms and bacon certainly don’t hurt, either.
I skinned this chicken because braising does not produce a crispy skin (which, obviously, is when skin is at its tastiest!). But, I have braised chicken with skin on for more flavor, removing it before eating, and that works, too. I used a mixture of beef and chicken broth because that’s what I had, and I tend to love beef broth with marsala, even if it is a chicken dish. That said, use whatever broth you have around or want to use!
I served these with roasted asparagus and some mashed cannellini beans.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Bacon
2 thick strips of bacon, chopped
2-4 bone-in chicken thighs (depending on size)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 sprig of thyme or small pinch of dried thyme
2 cloves garlic
1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup marsala
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup beef broth
salt and pepper
Heat a small dutch oven/casserole to medium-high. Add the bacon and cook until your desired doneness and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain off the fat if there is more than 1/2 Tbsp. remaining.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add to the hot pot, searing on both sides. Remove and set aside.
To the pot, add the onion, (add a little olive oil if you need more fat) cooking until translucent. Add the mushrooms, thyme & garlic and saute an additional few minutes until the mushrooms have released most of their moisture.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook it off for about a minute. Pour in the marsala and deglaze, scraping the browned bits up and allowing the wine to evaporate almost entirely.
Add the broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, add the chicken back in, and then simmer on low for about 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through. Season to taste if necessary. Stir in the bacon and serve.
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