Basic braises lend themselves to easy adjustments to suit your taste.
The first time we made this dish, the finished sauce tasted too earthy. All it took was a squeeze of extra citrus at the end to brighten the flavors.
The next attempt, we accidentally upped the amount of cumin, so we diluted the almost-finished sauce with some stock and simmered it briefly to meld the now milder, though still rich, flavors.
Here's the basic recipe; make it your own. But do serve it over freshly cooked rice.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1/3 cup small pitted green olives (optional)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth, plus more to taste (optional)
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook until browned but not cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside.
Wipe the skillet clean, return to medium heat and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it begins to turn golden. Add the onion, if using, and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the orange and lemon juices and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the skillet along with the olives, if using, and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer gently, turning the chicken occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter; cover to keep warm.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. If a tarter sauce is desired, add a slight squeeze of orange and/or lemon juice. If a milder, richer sauce is desired, add stock. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.
Adapted from the December 1995 issue of Gourmet magazine.
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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