Tender bits of dark meat chicken braised in a savory sauce with leeks, mushrooms and artichoke hearts? Oh yeah you betchya.
In a word? Yum.
We had frost this morning when I woke up and the whole world was covered in a glittering, sparkling sheen of tiny ice crystals. I haven’t seen frost since I moved away from Humboldt County. You don’t get frost in LA, at least not that I’ve ever noticed. But here, well, you get frost in September and I think this qualifies as “the first frost” because all my Johnny Jump Ups were dead when I went out front this morning. It’s the kind of weather that begs for savory, slow cooked dinners. And it just so happens, I had a savory, slow cooked dinner in mind. My dear friend and dietary inspirer over at Love.Thrive.Eat made this the other day. It sounded so good that I had to run right out and get some chicken and mushrooms so I could make it myself.
I’ll just go ahead and say it now. It is impossible to take a good picture of this dinner. It is quite possibly the least photogenic meal I have ever made.
This recipe, unsurprisingly, comes from Against All Grains by Danielle Walker. She seems to be everyone’s favorite paleo chef at the moment, and it’s well deserved. AAG is the cookbook I run to the most often these days when I need a guaranteed-yummo-but-easy dinner idea and it has not steered me wrong yet. I should add that my mom just went out and bought her own copy since I took mine with me when we moved up to the Mountain. It became Mom’s favorite go-to cookbook while we were living with her. All the other paleo cookbooks I brought were “please keep this in your room and not in the kitchen” but I don’t think Against All Grains left the kitchen counter even one night for the 3 weeks that we were there unless she was reading it on the couch. Mom doesn’t care about eating paleo, she just likes good food. For my mother to like and buy a cookbook is kind of a ringing endorsement.
I’m giving you my version of the dish here written with the adaptations I made – you’ll need to get the cookbook for the original recipe. I was missing things and had to sub a few ingredients and I also changed some amounts. The author gives you other options for things to use in the original recipe, so you have a choice of ingredients. Get the cookbook.
6 TBS clarified butter
1 package chicken drumsticks, one package chicken thighs, about 3- 4 lbs.
1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 lb slice crimini mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 TBS coconut flour
1 13 oz can artichoke hearts (drained)
1 large leek, cleaned thoroughly and sliced into coins (my addition)
Preheat your oven to 375.
Put your Dutch oven on the stovetop at a medium heat, and brown your chicken pieces in the butter, with the salt and the paprika and pepper added. Set them aside when they are browned and toss the mushrooms, garlic and leeks into the butter mixture that is simmering in the pot. Brown those for a minute, then add the chicken broth, vinegar, honey and coconut flour. Cook that on the stovetop at medium for about 10 minutes, then throw your chicken back in the pot along with that can of artichoke hearts. Put the lid on your Dutch oven and stick that sucker in the oven for about 45 – 50 minutes. Normally I’d cook bone in chicken a little longer, but if you’re using a cast iron Dutch oven, it will concentrate the heat and the cooking time will be perfect. If you are using a glass dish or casserole, you might have to adjust a little longer, so take that into consideration.
This dish was incredible. It tastes so good. Oh my gosh I can’t even say. Slippery soft little bits of leek braised with velvety artichoke hearts, savory mushrooms and the perfectly cooked chicken just slipped from the bone. YUM. This is the kind of dish that demands you open a really good bottle of wine and linger at the table with good friends. This, my friends, is Company Chicken. This is the chicken you will make for your lover, your best friend, your mother in law, or just yourself because you are awesome and you deserve it. The kicker is that it’s practically no work at all, so your friends will think you’re a flippin’ genius in the kitchen, you will get kudos, compliments and accolades, and you will have spent the bulk of the cooking time with your feet up, drinking a nice up of tea. It’s also pretty inexpensive. Barring pantry staples like spices, vinegar, honey, and the coconut flour which I always have on hand, I spent about $18 on this dish. There was enough for at least 4 people to have a nice dinner with good appetites, or for two people to eat very well for two nights running.
Rumors that I chased the juices around with a spoon on my plate and finally gave up and tipped the whole thing up so I could savor every last drop are completely not exaggerated. It happened. I confess. It took every ounce of willpower I had to not stand over the pot and slurp the stuff up with a spoon. I did warn the Captain that it might not survive till he comes home from LA, but since I love him, I will throw myself on the chicken and make it again so he can try it.
I think that next time I’ll remove the chicken and veg from the pot at the end of cooking, and reduce the sauce a bit to make it thicker and more gravy like before serving. I didn’t make any side dishes with this. Just that glorious chicken and braised yummy things on my plate. It was perfectly satisfying, the only problem was that the sauce was a little thin to chase around with a spoon and that’s why there are rumors of plate tipping. And, er, plate licking. This chicken would be fantastic over wild rice, (or even a regular potato dish for non paleo folks) and you wouldn’t need more than a simple green salad to tie the whole meal together if you were serving it to company. Maybe throw down some poached pears in wine for dessert and you’ve got the perfect Autumn meal.