Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chicken Thighs with Soy Sauce and Lemon

Yesterday was the first time I'd cooked since my cat died (R.I.P. Bunnicat, 1995-2009). As do most braises, it tasted good the night of, even better the day after - and it will taste even better tomorrow. It will also always remind me of Bun. Despite the still-unfamiliar silence (no more soft splash of her fountain; no more querulous meows), I had to remind myself not to set aside a little portion of chicken for her each time I packed my lunch. Alas, my mise en place/condiment bowls are now merely those again; they no longer double as amuse bouche plates for my furry food critic. I miss you, anak.

This recipe's based on one in the first edition of Bittman; any deviations from the original are in italics.
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1.5 lbs. chicken thighs (orig. 2 lbs.)
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic (orig. 1 tsp.)
  • 1 scant tbsp. grated lemon zest (orig. 1 tbsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar (omitted this)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3-1/2 tbsp.)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the oil, swirl, then add the chicken. Brown quickly - about 2-3 minutes per side.

Turn off the heat. Remove the chicken and all but one tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Let the pan cool for a minute or two, then turn the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, till it softens, about 1-2 minutes.

Add everything else but the lemon juice; stir. Return the chicken to the skillet; turn it once or twice in the liquid. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, turning once or twice, till chicken is done (anywhere from 20-40 minutes, though admittedly I went long because a new episode of "No Reservations" was on).

Add the lemon juice to the broth and stir. Serve with white rice.

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