The other night I pulled off a little dinner party for four on a Friday after my hour-long commute. How? This easy braised chicken with shallots was key. I stocked up at Publix on my lunch break, made a game plan on a post-it, and immediately got to work once I pulled off the highway and got home.
First, I seasoned my chicken and set it aside on a cutting board. The pie dough I made a month ago and stored in the freezer would help me, too. I set that out on the counter to begin to thaw. (I might zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds to help get it roll-out ready.)
To start the dinner, I began prepping bacon-wrapped dates. So good. So easy. Pit Medjool dates. Use spoon to stuff with goat cheese. Squeeze in a couple smoked almonds or toasted pecans. Wrap each one with half a strip of thick-cut bacon. Pierce wrapped dates with a long toothpick. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes on each side. Appetizer, done!
Next up, dessert. With my pie dough already done, I decided mini blueberry galettes were the way to go. I tossed fresh blueberries in a bowl with sugar, lemon zest, a bit of cornstarch, and salt. The sugared-up berries were then piled high in rounds of pie dough. I set it all on a sheet pan and placed it in the fridge to chill and wait until it was their time to bake. (Brush dough with egg wash or milk just before baking galettes.)
Then I did my mise en place for the braised chicken with shallots. Tomatoes halved. Shallots peeled. By the time our friends showed up with wine and stories from their Italian honeymoon, dinner was nearly done. Bacon-wrapped dates were on their way to a cute tray, ready for snacking. I was midway through browning the chicken, which is more than half of the work required for this recipe. And dessert was ready to pop in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until berries are juicy and bubbling inside a golden crust. Just add butter pecan ice cream and plenty of wine.
Weeknight dinner party, UNLOCKED.
easy braised chicken with shallots
This is one of my go-to chicken dinners for an easy weeknight meal, especially if I have friends coming over. The meal comes together quickly and everyone loves dipping crusty bread into the pan sauce.
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 to 15 whole medium shallots, peeled
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Crusty bread, like a baguette, for serving
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add the chicken and cook, in batches if necessary, until well browned and crisp on all sides. Once browned, remove the chicken using tongs and set aside on a plate.
Add shallots to the same skillet and sauté them in the butter and chicken fat until shallots begin to soften and caramelize, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir. Add the mustard and tarragon. Tuck the chicken thighs into the sauce, skin side up. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, about 20 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot, stir lightly to combine. Serve two chicken thighs per person in a wide, shallow bowl with plenty of the pan sauce. Serve with hunks of crusty bread for dipping into the sauce.
(Recipe adapted from Rishia Zimmern via The New York Times.)