Yesterday was one of those days when I found myself thinking, “What in the heck are we going to have for dinner? I have no ideas.” So I clicked on over to Yahoo Shine Foods, which has been known in the past to give me an idea or two. They had a recipe for chicken braised in tomato which sounded pretty interesting, but the link didn’t go anywhere. So I did a little google search for chicken braised in tomato, and I found this recipe, from Food Network. I liked the idea of cumin and cinnamon in the sauce, and it looked fairly simple, so I decided we’d try it.
Braised Chicken Thighs and Legs with Tomato
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 6 chicken thighs
- 6 chicken legs
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 large white onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 large ginger knob, peeled and grated
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
- Water, as needed
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. Arrange the chicken thighs and legs on a tray in a single layer and season them with salt, to taste. Turn the pieces on their other side and season again. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, carefully add the chicken to the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Resist the temptation to move or turn the pieces. Allow them to brown on their first side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use metal tongs to turn the chicken pieces to sear their second side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a tray and set it aside.
In the same skillet, add the cumin seeds and chili flakes, stirring rapidly to give them a quick toast, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and stir to combine. Season the ingredients with salt, to taste, then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Allow the mixture to cook and all the flavors to come together, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan, keep the heat low and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. (Chef’s note: If the sauce becomes overly thick or begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet, feel free to add some water, about 1/2 cup at a time.)
When the chicken is cooked through, remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl.
The results? A pretty tasty dish. The spices were similar to those in Indian food, but not really curry. No turmeric, for example. We had it with rice and peas. Maya said she’d prefer it a bit less spicy next time, while Ted liked the heat of the red pepper flakes. Perhaps next time I’ll put in 1/2 the amount, and then put more on the table for those who want more heat. This recipe is a keeper, and made its way into my newly organized recipe binder, where I put all of these recipes that don’t come from cookbooks. Yum.