chicken thighs

coconut lime braised chicken thighs

Why hello there old friend! Long time no see!

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Being a food blogger and working full time for a kitchenware retailer basically means that from November to January I’m a busy little bee. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s coming one right after the other, I don’t have a second to even pick my nose for two whole months.

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

This holiday season officially kicked my over-padded butt, so with the coming of the new year and the official end of the holiday season, I decided to take a brief but much needed and well deserved break.

I hope you were able to find some way to manage in my absence.
You knew I’d be back eventually, didn’t you?

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Here we are mid-January now, and things are finally feeling like they’re back to normal. In more ways than one…

Up until very recently, this “winter” has been unseasonably (and disconcertingly) warm here in Brooklyn. The day that Russell and I bought our baby little Christmas tree we passed blooming cherry trees as we carried it home. We had the windows open to enjoy the warm weather on Christmas day, but once I put the pork roast into the oven we were all fanning ourselves and dripping sweat. On New Year’s eve the begonias and impatiens in my back yard, and the rose bushes planted in front of work, were all blooming big and bright in stark contrast to the brown bare branches of Brooklyn’s trees.

Winter weather has finally caught up with us though, and the backyard is finally looking as brown and barren as it’s supposed to this time of year. Temperatures have finally begun dipping below freezing, and a few days ago winter winds knocked over the grill in my backyard as if to say, “Take that warm weather!” I even heard on the news this morning that we may soon see our first snow flakes in the next day or two.

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

With Winter’s frigid temperatures finally catching up to us, I’ve had a hankering for some rich and satisfying comfort food.

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Chicken thighs are one of my ultimate favorite comfort foods. I’ve made lots and lots and LOTS of chicken thigh recipes over the years, and for good reason. They’re rich and flavorful and satisfying. They have way more flavor than chicken breast, and unlike breasts, thighs are almost impossible to overcook to the point where they dry out. As if that ain’t enough, they’re also significantly more affordable than breast meat.

While I’ve roasted ’em, seared ’em, and even grilled ’em, my favorite thing to do with chicken thighs is to braise them.

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Normally I like to go for classic flavors like white wine and chicken stock, but this sudden onset of cold weather had me craving something more tropical. After a bit of thought I decided to try braising my beloved chicken things in bright Southeast Asian flavors like coconut, lime, ginger, and chili sauce.

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was craving something rich and hearty and satisfying, and this chicken does not disappoint.

The coconut milk adds a perfect creaminess without feeling heavy, and the acid of the lime brightens things up and cuts through the richness of the chicken. The fresh ginger, garlic, & sriracha add a gentle heat and a depth of flavor, which is perfectly complimented by the umami saltiness of a bit of soy sauce. After simmering for almost an hour, another squeeze of fresh lime and a heavy handed sprinkle of cilantro and green onion add a summery freshness that’s more than welcome in these chilly winter months.

coconut lime braised chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Coconut Lime Braised Chicken Thighs

  • Servings: 4 to 8, depending on size of thighs
  • Print
3 to 4 lbs (about 6 to 8) chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 small onion, finely diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed or very finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce)
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
zest and juice of 2 limes, separately
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped or torn
1 small bunch green onion, thinly sliced

Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper. Let the chicken absorb the seasoning at room temperature for about 30 minutes before proceeding.

Heat coconut oil in a large lidded skillet, braising pan or dutch oven over high heat. Brown for about 5 minutes on both sides, starting with the skin side down first. Depending on the size of your thighs the chicken thighs, you may need to do this in two batches. Remove and transfer to a plate.

A lot of fat will likely render out of the skin, pour all but 1 tablespoon out of the pan. Reduce heat to medium and sauté onions for about three to five minutes, or until soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in garlic, ginger, and Sriracha and sauté for one minute more. Stir in chicken stock, turn heat back up to high, and reduce by at least half, for about five to ten minutes. Stir in soy sauce, coconut milk and zest and juice of one of the limes. Arrange chicken thighs, skin side up, in a single layer. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for half an hour. Remove lid and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes more.

Stir in cilantro, green onion, and zest and juice of remaining lime. Serve over a bed of white rice or rice noodles, with a ladle of sauce and sprinkle of more fresh cilantro and green onion if desired.

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creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille

Last Saturday when I got home from work I started making dinner.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

I cut up some broccoli, crisped up some bacon, made a béchamel, boiled some noodles, and grated a heaping pile of aged Irish cheddar. After mixing all the ingredients for my homemade macaroni & cheese together I turned the oven on to preheat while I melted a little butter for my bread crumb topping.

With the weighty casserole ready to go into the oven to bubble and crisp, I reached down to open the oven door. That’s when I noticed it wasn’t hot.
Panic.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

Though you wouldn’t know if from the number of baked goods I turn out of my kitchen, I have been having trouble with my oven for over a year. I won’t get into all the specifics, but it basically starts to preheat but will turn off before coming to temperature. After months of dealing with it I finally figured out that if I switched on the range it would trick the oven to turning back on and I’d be in business.
That is, until the night that I had a big dish of macaroni and cheese waiting to bake. No amount of trickery or tinkering could induce my ancient apartment oven to turn on.

A broken oven. My worst nightmare.
I wanted to cry.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

I wrapped the macaroni and cheese up and put it into the refrigerator, crossing my fingers that it would miraculously work again the next day. Nope.

Of course my landlord is dragging feet his feet about getting it fixed too. Doesn’t he know who I am?

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

A few days later we finally got a repair man in to take a look. After less than five minutes of tinkering he blithely says, “Oh it’s just a blown fuse.”
I had just enough time to breath a sigh of relief before he continued, “Of course I don’t have one with me, and it’s out of stock. We’ll have to order it. We’ll call you in a few days.”
Way to toy with my fragile emotions Mr. Evil Repair Man. After he left I microwaved a bowl of never-baked macaroni and cheese and cried into it.

Another day passed before I heard back from them, and just my luck, this tiny stupid fuse is backordered from the manufacturer and they don’t know when it’ll be back in stock. What are the chances?
When it’s my oven we’re talking about? 100%.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

I could use this as an opportunity to make no-bake recipes and experiment with any number of savory stove top recipes. But, of course in the absence of my oven, all I want to do is bake. I even want to bake things I would normally do on the stove top! I’m suddenly overwhelmed by cravings for baked eggs, roasted chicken, twice baked potatoes, roasted cauliflower. My urge to bake cookies, usually strong enough already, is suddenly all consuming. I’m overcome with worry that I won’t be able to participate in this month’s #bundtbakers, which is fast approaching.

Wallowing rather than overcoming, I can’t think of a single thing that I could share here that wouldn’t require a functional oven. Forget the fact that at least half or more of the recipes I’ve posted up until now haven’t.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

Then, one morning I wake up and suddenly I NEED to make jambalaya. I consult my favorite recipe to make a few tweaks. I consult other recipes to see what else could be improved on. Oddly enough, I discover a few recipes that call for the jambalaya to be assembled on the stovetop and finished in the oven! WHAT?!?! WHY!?!!?! Okay, forget that. Back to the original stovetop recipe I was looking at.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

My recipe hunt turned up so many different variations on jambalaya that I decided to turn to Wikipedia for some clarification. As it turns out, there are actually three distinct varieties of jambalaya, depending on the regions they come from and the ingredients used.

The style I made is called a red Creole jambalaya, or a city Creole jambalaya. This is the most common style, and the main difference between this and other varieties is the use of tomatoes. The less common rural Creole jambalaya is almost identical but uses no tomatoes in the recipe. The third, and even less common variety is the Cajun or “white” jambalaya, in which the rice is cooked in broth separately from the meat and vegetables and combined just before serving.

Most people believe Creole red jambalaya was created as a way to make Spanish Paella without using saffron which was very hard to come by at the time. Tomatoes were added in place of the saffron for flavor, but eventually the other two styles came about without the tomatoes.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

The house smells completely heavenly while this bubbles away on the stovetop (and not in the oven), and the flavor could not be more amazing. Tender rice, perfectly cooked shrimp, soft cooked vegetables, and andouille with a nice bit of bite. The fresh herbs, crushed tomatoes, and spices combine to make one of the most flavorful dishes I’ve had in a good long time. Using smoked paprika really makes a difference to impart a nice smoky depth to the dish and the cayenne adds a welcome bit of heat.

Depending on how spicy you like things, the heat level can definitely be adjusted to your taste. I like mine quite spicy so I used the full teaspoon of cayenne. One teaspoon might not sound like much, but a little goes a long way and gave this big pot of jambalaya some serious heat. Feel free to scale it back to 1/2 or even 1/4 teaspoon if you can’t take the heat, but I beg you not to skip it altogether or you’re not doing it right!

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

Creole Red Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, & Andouille

  • Servings: about 8 to 10
  • Print
adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon for the Fix

1 tablespoon olive oil (or bacon grease, if you have it, will add a bit of welcome smokiness)
12 to 16 oz. Andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 to 3 ribs of celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups of corn kernels (fresh is best but frozen is fine)
2 cups long grain rice
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to your taste)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 (15 oz) can, crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned peeled and deveined

garnish:
fresh thyme, parsley, or green onion

Preheat 1 tablespoon of oil or grease in a heavy stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown andouille for about 5 minutes, remove from oven, leaving grease, and set aside.
Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes. They don’t need to be cooked through, just have a bit of color on them. Remove and set aside with sausage
Add onions, bell peppers, and celery and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until onions barely begin to look translucent.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic and corn and continue to sauté for 2 minutes more.
Add rice, herbs and spices and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, stock, chicken thighs, and sausage. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked about 2/3 of the way, then add shrimp by gently pressing shrimp slightly into the mixture. DO NOT STIR while rice is cooking.
Cover again and continue to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes or until rice is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated.
Gently toss jambalaya together to incorporate shrimp and fluff the rice. Top with chopped parsley or sliced green onion, and serve.

thai style chicken noodle soup

March is here, which means that winter is finally on it’s way out!

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

The other day I got off the train after work and looked up to notice the last warm fingers of daylight still touching the tops of the buildings in my neighborhood. I can’t tell you how warm and fuzzy that made me feel after walking home in the dark all winter long.

The days are getting longer, the air is getting (ever so slightly) warmer, and while the snow still seems to keep falling, spring will be here in just a few short weeks.

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

For now though, it’s still winter. If I ever had any doubt, all I’d have to do is look out my bedroom window to see the blanket of white snow perforated in tight tracks by the paws of little pups.

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m no stranger to long winters. I lived in the Adirondacks for my college years, and grew up in Central New York, the land of lake effect snow and highway clogging blizzards.

Winters in the city have always paled in comparison, being more about rain and slush than actual snow accumulation. When I first moved to Brooklyn I would laugh when people complained about winter weather, but after living through more than a few New York City winters, I realize that freezing rain and grey haze are just as depressing and awful as snow that won’t quit piling up.

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

This winter has been one of the coldest on record here in Brooklyn, and has felt like one of the longest.

I have to admit, I’m over it.
Officially.

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

The idea for this recipe came from my desire for something warm and homey and satisfying, like old fashioned chicken noodle soup, mixed with my yearning for bright summery flavors that might draw me out of my cold weather funk.

I thought it was worth a shot to try marrying the idea of chicken noodle soup with the flavors of a Thai Tom Kha Gai coconut soup.

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Let me tell you, this soup is amazing. It’s rich and satisfying while somehow also feeling light and healthy.

It’s got a mildly sweet tanginess from the acidic lime juice, a nice bright tropical creaminess from the coconut milk, and just a hint of spice from the fresh ginger and sriracha. The chicken thighs and stock add a nice richness and the carrots give it that traditional chicken soup feeling. The torn cilantro and green onion round out the flavor with green summery freshness, and the al dente rice noodles add a nice bit of texture and substance.

All together every bite is a bright vibrant burst of the tropics in the midst of a dreary grey winter.

thai style chicken noodle soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
4 carrots, thinly sliced into disks
1 1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs
sea salt to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1 14 oz can coconut milk
juice of 1 to 4 limes *see note
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/2 cup torn cilantro leaves
6 oz package of rice noodles, softened or cooked according to package

Preheat oil over high heat in a large heavy bottom stockpot. Add garlic & ginger and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add carrots and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken thighs and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add chicken stock & salt bring to simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove chicken thighs with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Skim any foam off of the stock. Slice or shred chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken pieces back to the stock along with coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, & sriracha. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Bring just back to a simmer, remove from heat, add scallions and cilantro. Ladle into bowls, serve with a generous handful of rice noodles.

*cooks note: I am crazy for citrus so when I developed this recipe I used the juice of 4 limes. I was thrilled with the flavor and posted the recipe the way I liked it.
Over time, a few readers expressed that it was too much for them and they’d prefer it with less lime if they made it again. I’d suggest you that start with the juice of one lime and give it a taste before deciding if you’d enjoy more.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta

When I first met my husband he was convinced that he was “allergic” to mushrooms.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

He had somehow lived his entire life believing that mushrooms, along with a few other foods, caused a very slight allergic tingle in his throat that (in his words) made him go “eh”. When he described the reactions to his “allergies” to me, I knew immediately that he was full of it. I myself have always loved mushrooms though, so I made it my mission to convince him that these food allergies were all in his head.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was relentless. We had just started dating, so he didn’t yet know just how stubborn and determined I can be when I think know I’m right, and he was eventually forced to give in to reason and logic. While he finally admitted that most of the foods in question were ones that he just didn’t like, mushrooms ended up being something that he decided were worth giving another try.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

To my surprise (and delight) he ended up loving them! I don’t even really understand where he’d picked up the idea he didn’t like (or was allergic to) mushrooms in the first place, but now we eat them all the time! No throat tingle, no “eh”.

I think that adding mushrooms to a dish is an easy and affordable way to add a hearty richness to foods that might otherwise be bland and boring. I always find myself wanting to “beef up” my dinners with the meaty earthiness of mushrooms as soon as the weather starts to turn cold. As much as they’re kind of assertive and distinct, mushrooms also seem to be incredibly versatile and go with a huge variety of foods and flavors.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

Back when I was single, and tended to spend more of my money on barhopping than recipe planning, I used to use mushrooms as a way to either stretch whatever protein I was cooking, or replace it altogether. When I was in the mood for something that felt sort of decadent and “fancy”, but didn’t have much time or money to spend on it, I loved to sauté mushrooms in butter and pile them up over some creamy polenta.

If you’re not familiar with polenta, you need to be. It’s super easy and cheap to make, and only takes about 20 minutes. It’s little more than cornmeal porridge, but the addition of chicken stock and a little butter and cheese make it somehow seem wonderfully rich and elegant. Creamy polenta tends to be the simplest and easiest preparation, but if you let it set up and get firm after cooking you can even slice it and grill, bake, or fry the wedges or sticks.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

While white buttons used to have the mushroom monopoly, these days you have a few more options at the grocery store than that. While I do like their texture, I think that buttons tend to be a bit bland, so if you want to use them I’d suggest mixing them with another, more flavorful, variety. If you’re really into mushrooms and want to play with flavors and textures, go wild and use a mix of trumpets, hen-of-the-woods, and shiitakes (just be sure to remove the stems). Some of those varieties can be a bit on the pricier side though, so to get a big bang for a little buck I like to use a mix of creminis and portobellos.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

The best part of this meal is how cheap and easy it is to throw together. You can have dinner on the table in under an hour, and everything that goes into it is super affordable. I’m sure I sound like a broken record here, but chicken thighs are my absolute favorite. Besides being cheap, they’re also way more flavorful than breasts and have a much nicer texture and don’t dry out when they’re cooked through.

This meal is perfect for fall. The chicken thighs are tender, rich, and super flavorful. The mushrooms have a great rustic meaty flavor and texture and help make this meal feel really filling and substantial. The wine adds a really subtle fruitiness and helps build depth, while the thyme adds a distinctive earthiness. Polenta is the perfect creamy complement to all the rich and solid flavor going on here.

braised chicken thighs with mushrooms and creamy polenta | Brooklyn Homemaker

Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Creamy Polenta

2 lbs (about 4 large or 8 small) chicken thighs, bone in & skin on
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb (16 oz) mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used a mix of cremini and portobello)
3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

Creamy Polenta:
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Generously season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Coat each piece with flour in a small dish and set aside. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat, melt the butter and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Brown each piece for 5 minutes on each side and remove to a plate to rest. Add onions and mushrooms to pan and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms give off their liquid, and continue to cook over high heat until liquid is almost completely reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and chicken stock. Gently press the chicken pieces down into the mushrooms, and add the thyme sprigs. Reduce heat to just shy of medium and let simmer until liquid is reduced and chicken is cooked through, about 20 or 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the creamy polenta. Heat the stock, water, & milk to a low simmer in a medium saucepan. Generously season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal making sure there are no lumps. Stir regularly until the polenta is very thick and creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Once chicken is cooked through, remove thyme sprigs. Spoon polenta into a bowl and top with mushroom mixture and some reduced liquid. Top with a piece (or two if small) of chicken.