You are going to hate me for this one. The last thing anyone wants to do in the middle of the hottest week of the summer so far is to use the oven and the stove in a slow braise. And yet. I could not get this recipe out of my head after reading it from Betty at Le Jus D’orange Blog. If you haven’t read Betty, she’s wildly talented and most intrepid in her approach to cooking and baking. There’s almost nothing she won’t tackle and she puts so much of herself into each recipe. And her photos. They are just….well they are JUST.
What called to me about this is the juxtaposition of sweet simmering summer peaches against the bright flavor of scallions and cilantro. All of it grounded by deeply earthy mushrooms. Something about a braise reminds me of my grandma and grandma always served her chicken with roasted carrots. Lucky for me they’re also in season. I think this called to me because a braise is a dish I was raised on. To me it’s as old as time and yet there’s something about this recipe that’s so fresh and new.
Most of the cooking work here is inactive so I could sneak in a rare few moments relaxing. A crisp chicken, seared and browned, absorbs a sauce made of peaches, garlic and fresh oyster mushrooms is then tempered by scallions, ginger and carrots. It’s a summer classic for me now. My kitchen hasn’t smelled like this in months. I thought I’d add cherries, but that might go better with a duck. I thought I’d add my preserved lemons for a briny flavor, but I decided to let it be. Mostly, I made this because my husband asked me, “Why don’t you make chicken anymore?” He grew up on it. I grew up on it. It’s comfort food in all of its forms. This was a special one because we actually had some guests. Very few people have entered our tiny space.
And as I served it I was a spider reigning over the web of the table–and from my spider limbs stretched invisible fibers, winding light and sticky around my guests, my family. There were thinner strands too between people who had a history together, of love or hate, but I held the thickest string and as I served this and ate it, I too saw my place in the web. I usually use the kitchen to travel and today I’m using the kitchen to return home.
SUMMER PEACH BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS
Adapted closely from Le Jus D’orange Blog
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 scallion onions, chopped roughly
- 2 small carrots, chopped roughly
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups peaches, pitted and sliced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 chopped cilantro
- 2 cups mix of oyster mushrooms shitake mushrooms mix
Heat oven to 375F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat up some extra virgin olive oil in a dutch oven. Work in batches and brown chicken on both sides until golden – about 10 minutes. Remove from dutch oven and set aside.
Turn heat to low. Add in scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots. Add and cook mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, until juices are let out. Add in half the peaches, vinegar, and brown sugar and simmer for another couple of minutes.
Push everything to the side. Add in flour and stir with seeping juices, cooking, until browned. Slowly add in chicken broth and whisk until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and place chicken in one layer, with skin side up. Boil again and transfer dutch oven to oven. Cover with lid and roast for 45 minutes.
Add rest of peaches to sauce and simmer sauce over medium-high heat, uncovered, until thick and reduced by half (10 minutes).
Stir in cilantro and spoon over chicken.