With less than 6 hours to go until my Shabbat dinner party last Friday night, I was sitting in my midtown office, trying to figure out what to do with the chicken thighs defrosting in my fridge in Dumbo! I wanted something easy and flavorful that would impress my guests and look great on the table. After browsing my favorite food blogs, I decided on Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Devil’s Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks which hit the last several marks though they were anything but simple to cook, requiring a marinade, multiple pots and cooking techniques!
So how did I manage to marinade and cook this fabulous dish before my 8pm dinner time? Enter my new favorite neighbor- my darling sister, who recently moved to the neighborhood and was working from home on Friday. She stopped by with the Vermouth and quickly threw together the marinade’s components and the chicken thighs in a plastic bag. By the time I got home from work at 4:30, all I had to do was clean and braise the leeks, chop and saute several cups worth of shallots, toss together marinade part II, brown the chicken and put the whole dish together…phew! Luckily, all this manual labor (including both cooking and cleaning multiple pots and and splattered olive oil) was worth it! The dish was a hit and quite possibly, the best chicken I’ve ever made! There are a few reasons I’m recommending this dish for your next dinner party.
1. The flava! Because you are braising them in so many components, the chicken thighs truly soak in the flavor of the leeks, shallots, vermouth and thyme resulting in very moist and savory meat! Make sure you grab a helping of the braised leeks on the bottom of the dish which are tied with the chicken for first place!
2. The crunch! Right before the dish enters the oven for its final round of cooking, it is coated with herb enhanced Panko. This, combined with the browning step results in a great chicken crust. The combination of tender meat and leeks and crunchy bread crumbs is addictive.
3. The presentation! Deb’s perfect instructions which call for a “gratin dish that can go from oven to table” was a great excuse for me to break out my new blue le crueset! After fussing with this recipe for a few hours, the oven to table step was a cinch!
While I’m feeling very guilty for my lack of independent food photography, putting together a dish fit for the devil himself, is enough of an excuse for this post! I did take one picture after the very first step of browning the leeks!
Now, all you have to do is picture Deb’s finished product in my blue Le Crueset! It came out exactly like the photo, I swear!