Braised Lemongrass Chicken Thighs
Every cook should have a good chicken dish in their repertoire. They are easy to throw together for dinner parties or to reheat for weeknight dinners. Chicken thighs are the best cut for braising; they release so much flavor and the skins crisp up nicely in the oven. They are also one of the more inexpensive cuts of chicken so it's the perfect choice when cooking for a large number of people. I love fusion foods, especially when you use French methods of cooking combined with Asian flavors. This recipe uses bright lemongrass flavors and fuses them with savory flavors of onion, garlic and fish sauce.
3 lemongrass stalks
3 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
ground black pepper, to taste
kosher salt, to taste
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350º.
Cut two of the lemongrass stalks in half and then smash them. Mince the remaining lemongrass stalk.
Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a 4½ - quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the sugar to the oil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chicken skin side down in a single layer and sauté until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes each side. The chicken skin should be slightly caramelized. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and minced lemongrass and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Then add the chicken stock, fish sauce, and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour, until meat is fork tender. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the chicken thighs from the pot. Discard the lemongrass. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
Heat broiler to high and place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet. Broil until the skin is crispy, about 3 minutes.
Serve the chicken with a side of rice and topped with the remaining braising liquid.