MAHOGANY CHICKEN THIGHS

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Braising chicken thighs does an excellent job of rendering sneaky pockets of fat and producing luxurious, flavorful meat, but there is one drawback: we miss the crispy skin of roasted chicken. We wanted the best of both worlds.

We took a hybrid approach: braise for tenderness, then broil for crispy skin. We oven-braised the thighs in a flavor-infusing combination of soy sauce, sherry, white vinegar, a big piece of smashed ginger, smashed garlic, and sugar and molasses for sweetness (both would also caramelize and boost the mahogany hue). After braising for an hour, the fat was fully rendered, and although the meat was overcooked according to our usual standards, the melted connective tissue had converted to gelatin, which resulted in meat that was supple and juicy. Turning the chicken skin side up halfway through braising allowed the rendered skin to dry before broiling, which helped it crisp a little more. For a simple, streamlined finish, we used a portion of the braising liquid to make a quick sauce (thickened with a little cornstarch for body).

SERVES 4 TO 6

For best results, trim all visible fat and skin from the underside of the thighs. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.

cups water
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
8 (5- to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled, halved, and smashed
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk 1 cup water, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, molasses, and vinegar together in ovensafe 12-inch skillet until sugar is dissolved. Arrange chicken, skin side down, in soy mixture and nestle ginger and garlic between pieces of chicken.

2. Bring soy mixture to simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

3. Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken registers 195 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to platter, taking care not to tear skin. Pour cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator and let settle for 5 minutes. Heat broiler.

4. Whisk cornstarch and remaining ½ cup water together in bowl. Pour 1 cup defatted cooking liquid into now-empty skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cooking liquid and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Pour sauce into bowl and set aside for serving.

5. Return chicken skin side up to now-empty skillet and broil until well browned, about 4 minutes. Return chicken to platter, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing reserved sauce separately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *