Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Braised Chicken with Leeks and Cream

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Most of the time, braising something evokes a winter night and long, slow cooking—so long, in fact, that we hardly ever cover it in this column about reasonably quick weeknight dinners. Short ribs, lamb shanks, and oxtail all require at least two hours to become fork-tender and delicious. The flavors are deep and satisfying, but it's a commitment of time.

Chicken, on the other hand, can braise in under an hour, and the thighs and legs are a perfect candidate for the job: They don't dry out like the breast, and they absorb tons of flavor from the cooking liquid. To keep things light, I used leeks and white wine as the base of the sauce, finishing with just a bit of cream. But it's an adaptable recipe; green olives or lardons of bacon would have made fine additions. The key is a very good sear at the beginning to build flavor.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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