Monday, 16 June 2014

Sherry Braised Garlic Chicken

The weather is absolutely gorgeous at the moment; the sun is shining from the heavens and the temperatures are beginning to rise. Amazingly, I think we might be getting a summer at last!

My eldest daughter is on her holidays from school; soon to be joined by her two siblings. How I envy them! All they want to do at the moment is to be out enjoying the good weather and playing sports. I’m delighted because at least they are stuck indoors in front of the television or computer! They certainly don’t want to be indoors eating formal meals but are more inclined towards barbecues, small meals/snacks and more casual dining.
 
This chicken dish is absolutely perfect fare for an Irish summer’s day; it’s nourishing, easy to eat and extremely tasty. I will admit that you do need to like garlic in order to enjoy this dish, but the garlic’s pungency is tempered by being braised in the oven and with the sherry and chicken juices is transformed into a sauce that is mouth-watering in its sumptuousness.
 
You could serve this dish with a green salad or with couscous but I like it most when served with some crusty bread – perfect for mopping up the garlic juices.

Ingredients:

Marinade:
75ml olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
A large handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Braised Chicken:
10-12 chicken thighs (on the bone with skin)
2tblsp olive oil
3-4 shallots, peeled and finely diced
2 bay leaves
200ml sherry (preferable fino)
250ml chicken stock
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
To finish:
2tblsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
 

Method:

The day before:
1. Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl and mix together. Add the chicken thighs and massage the marinade into them. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Braised Chicken:
2. Preheat the oven to 160C/Fan Oven 140/Gas Mark 2. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and season well. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick, oven-proof frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down and fry for 5-t minutes until the skin has turned a golden brown colour.  Turn over and cook on the other side for a further 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted too turn up the heat as this could cause the garlic to burn which will give a bitter taste to the whole dish.
3. Once the oven is browned on all side, remove to a dish and set aside for the time being. Add the chopped shallot to the oil in the pan and fry over a moderate heat for approximately 5 minutes until it has turned a golden brown colour.
4. Return the chicken thighs to the frying pan, add the bay leaves and then the sherry. Increase the heat and allow the sherry to reduce by about two thirds. Add the chicken stock.
5. Place some greaseproof paper or baking parchment directly on top of the chicken thighs in the pan so that they are all covered. Place in the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
6. Remove from the oven, scatter over some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.
 

Serves 4-6.