Mind-Blowing Braised Chicken Thighs

I stuck my spoon into the braising liquid for a quick taste. It was liquid gold.  I stuck my spoon back into the pan for another taste.  Rather perplexed, I wondered how in the hell it could taste so good? Truth is, I wasn't expecting much and I sure wasn't expecting a mind-blowing dish.  I had picked the recipe just because I had everything on hand Turns out I hit the jackpot. This recipe is one of the best things I've had in awhile. 

In this simple recipe, a handful of ingredients come together to make one flavorful, knock-out, lip-smackin' dish. Chicken thighs are seasoned with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning then browned in a pan on each side.  After removing the chicken, the onion, garlic, and herbs are added to the pan with a dusting of flour and some chicken stock.  When all that comes a boil, the chicken is added back in and allowed to braise on the stove for one hour.  The chicken becomes meltingly tender and the braising liquid.....turns into a delicious gravy.  This recipe is like magic.

Braised Chicken ThighsAdapted from Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food FastServes 4-6 (consider making a double batch)6 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), trimmed of any excess skin or fat1 tablespoon Emeril's Original Essence or Creole Seasoning1 teaspoon salt1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon a/p flour2 teaspoon olive oil3 tablespoon unsalted butter2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions1 tablespoon minced garlic6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in a bundle or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper3 cups chicken stock or chicken broth1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley*Steamed white rice, for serving
Season the chicken all over with the Essence and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.  Place the 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl, and quickly dredge both sides of each thigh in the flour, shaking to remove any excess.  Set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a 10-12-inch flameproof casserole or saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, and when it has melted, place the chicken, skin side down, in the pan.  Brown for 2 minutes on each side.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan, and when it has melted, add the onions, garlic, thyme bundle or rosemary sprigs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.  Cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.  Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon flour over the onions and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Then whisk in the chicken stock and increase the heat to high.  Return the chicken, skin side down, to the pan, and bring the stock to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a heavy, tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Uncover the pan, stir the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, and turn the chicken skin side up. Cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes longer.

Stir the bottom of the pan a final time, re-cover, and simmer for 20 more minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and discard the herb bundle or rosemary sprigs.  Transfer the chicken to a serving platter.  Add the parsley to the sauce, stir to combine, and then spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Serve with the steamed white rice.

Notes/Results: A surprisingly delicious meal and one that I will be sure to make again.....soon!   It's healthy, it's economical, it's easy, and it's beyond delicious.  That makes it a winner in my book.  I do want to point out that I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because that's what I had on hand.  I had no problems with the substitution.  The directions for the recipe seem rather long and time-consuming, but they're really not.  You're basically just going back to the pot every 20 minutes to stir the liquid and flip the chicken.  Easy peasy!