If you saw my previous post, you know what's going on here. If you just stopped by, hello! Never fear: let me explain.
On Friday, my friend Ian asked me for quick and easy dinner options, some of which may or may not be vegan (his girlfriend is.) I promised him five super easy suggestions, including the incredibly versatile chicken thighs which are typically cheaper and juicier than their white meat counterparts. I'm not even going to call these recipes or write out ingredients, and I'm not going to worry about photos. Passing along simple cooking instruction is so important to me, I don't want to let these things impede the sharing. I'm trying to keep it unfettered, easy to follow. If you do this, you can have a meal for several days. If you are familiar with the flavor profiles of various cuisines, you can embellish and fill in the spices, herbs, condiments and veggies accordingly to suit your tastes.
Start with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs which you've covered in Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper in a medium sized pot with a covered lid (such as Dutch oven or even a simple 4-quart stock pot will work). Add them to a pan that's been coated with oil over medium-high heat. You want a serious good sear to take place here. Don't be afraid to let it get nice and hot. You want that skin crispy. This should take 5-10 minutes.
Now it's time to start building your sauce. Remove said chicken from the pot to a warm plate. Add in your chopped up aromatic veggies of choice—mirepoix, or even garlic with peppers, or other suitable combo. Let them soften and become, well, aromatic. Once that happens, add in your flavor base. Think dried spices, herbs, mustard, curry powder or paste and stir together for a minute or two.
Next, deglaze the pan with a little bit of liquid such as any kind of good cooking vinegar (red wine, sherry, apple cider), wine, beer, you get the idea—scraping from the bottom with my husband calls "the burny bits" and I like to call flavor crystals. Regardless of what you call them, these will form the base of your sauce.
Add back in the chicken thighs, and then more liquid such as stock, water, apple cider, beer, coconut milk or some combination thereof. Get creative. (I've seen my friend Stacey do this with a jar of salsa verde and then eaten the results. Good stuff!) Make sure the liquid comes up to about halfway the pot. Bring it all up to a simmer, cover it, and let it go.
When you return, about 20-30 minutes later, you should have super tender meat that's great for a variety of applications and which you should be able to pull off the bone with ease. Serve over pasta, rice, noodles, couscous, bulgur, quinoa, you name it. Toss it with veggies or canned beans (which you can add during the final simmering stage.) Shred it and add to salads or serve as a filling with tacos. Cook up an entire package at a time so that dinner or lunch is never a chore; you simply eat what you can, refrigerate the rest, and have the base for your next meal. Cook once, eat several times, right?