Sometimes, I just like to play in the kitchen. This dish is a result of some play after long abstinence following shoulder surgery. It turned out so well, I just had to share it.
Spicy Braised Chicken Thighs with Coconut Milk and Tomato Apple Chutney
1 can light coconut milk
6-8 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil*
Blend together the following:
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder**
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon African pepper*** (cayenne is fine)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of refined (so it won’t burn) coconut oil in a Dutch oven. Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry. Sprinkle and rub the spice mixture liberally over both sides of the chicken (you may have some left over). Place chicken skin side down in Dutch oven and brown skin until very crisp, but don’t burn the spices. Turn thighs and brown other side. Quite a bit of fat will render from the skin.
Remove chicken from pan, pour off fat. (Lower fat version: remove skin from chicken thighs before browning in coconut oil. There should be no need then to pour off fat from pan, since the coconut oil is healthy.) Pour 1 can of light coconut milk into Dutch oven, heat to boiling, stirring up the spices from the bottom of the pan. Place chicken back into pan, cover with lid, and braise in 375 degree oven for 75-90 minutes, or until chicken is tender enough to pull away from the bone with a fork.
Remove chicken from pan. Stir 1-2 tablespoons of flour (I use brown rice flour) into pan juices. Whisk over medium heat until boiling. Boil and stir one minute to thicken sauce. Serve sauce over chicken thighs.
As you can see from the pictures, I only had 3 chicken thighs, and there was enough sauce for several more thighs. I wish I’d had more! I served this with red quinoa instead of the traditional rice, with a good dollop of the tomato-apple chutney I made last fall on the side.
We also had kale with Canadian bacon and onion, one of Dennis’s favorite vegetable dishes. Dennis was over the moon! He’s been getting pretty tired of his own cooking since my shoulder surgery in early December.
Notes: *Use refined coconut oil to brown the chicken because you’ll use a relatively high heat, and unrefined coconut oil burns too easily. You can of course use vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, or any other fat you like. I just like the health benefits of cooking with coconut oil whenever I can. **If you have a good curry powder or paste, you probably don’t need all the extra ingredients I added to the spice mix, but boy, it sure was good! I just used an inexpensive, all-purpose curry powder from the supermarket. ***My African pepper was given to me by my Nigerian co-mother-in-law, Theresa. She buys the hot red peppers in the market in Kaduna, cooks them, dries them in the sun, and then grinds them to powder. It is hot, but with great flavor. I love it, and I use it in everything. Cayenne is an acceptable alternative. It adds just a little heat, and of course, you can add more of any flavor you particularly like.