I made a date dinner last night. Nothing too complex, nothing all that risky. But it was good, and the guy I had over seemed to appreciate it. The best part? It’s flexible with wine. He drank a Zinfandel, while I sipped a Riesling, which meshed quite well with the slightly lemony sauce.
The menu? A breeze. Rice (cooked with stock to impart some flavor), baguette, salad in a simple vinaigrette and the chicken. Here's the recipe:
8 chicken thighs, bones and skin still on
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 med onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 to 1 1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c brandy
1/2 c heavy cream
3 c chicken stock
1 tsp fresh thyme
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
2 T butter
2 T corn starch
Salt and pepper the chicken thighs. In a skillet over med-high to high heat, warm about 2 T oil and the butter until very hot. Add the garlic and IMMEDIATELY put in chicken, skin side down. Sautee for about 5-10 minutes, until well browned and chicken releases from the pan. Using tongs, turn chicken over and cook about 5 minutes more, until chicken is browned. Remove pan from heat, then put thighs into a baking dish that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Return pan to heat, but reduce to medium. Add onions and when they begin to soften, add mushrooms. Salt and pepper lightly, and add thyme. When mushrooms begin to brown, add white wine and most of the brandy. Turn heat to high and reduce, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan and dissolve any caramelized bits from the chicken. Dissolve corn starch into about 1/2 c stock.
When liquid is almost gone, reduce heat to medium. Add stock (the stock without the corn starch) and heavy cream. Stir occasionally and let come to a rolling simmer. Add stock with the corn starch and turn heat up slightly, then stir until sauce begins to thicken. Add lemon zest and juice.
Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and bake about an hour. Let cool slightly and serve, placing a thigh or two on rice, then spooning sauce over.