Have you ever endured the frustration of cooking a recipe with a mile-long ingredients list, only to wonder at the end why flavor is thoroughly missing in action?
This is not that recipe. Not at all.
Instead, “Rishia Zimmern’s Chicken with Shallots” boasts a quite modest number of ingredients. But the payoff is a dish that is so swaddled in big French country flavors that you will end up craving it again and again.
You may have heard of Rishia’s husband — Andrew Zimmern. Yes, that Andrew Zimmern, the host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” show. It’s kind of a relief to know that when he’s at home, he’s not chowing down on scorpions on a stick like he does while on the road.
Andrew Zimmern originally tweeted his wife’s recipe, which just goes to show how simple it is to make. The New York Times subsequently wrote about the dish, which was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
It’s a one-pan dish good enough for company. Sear chicken thighs in butter, then remove. Add a generous amount of peeled shallots to the hot pan — carefully, as their high-water content will cause them to splatter a bit. Don’t fear all the rendered chicken fat in the bottom of the pan. Remember, fat is flavor. All that lusciousness will flavor and caramelize the shallots, too. Stir in white wine, tarragon and Dijon mustard, then add back the chicken to cook until done. Add halved cherry tomatoes at the very end.
Serve with thick slices of artisan bread to sop up all that voluptuous sauce. The chicken comes out juicy, and actually flavored quite deeply from the sauce ingredients. The taste is surprisingly complex. The mustard adds a piquant note, as well as body. The wine contributes acidity and the tomatoes give a sweet fullness. If a dish can be both comforting and chic, this one is it.
Indulge in it now with summer’s last hurrah of cherry tomatoes.
Rishia Zimmern’s Chicken with Shallots
(Serves 4 to 6)
8 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 to 15 whole medium shallots, peeled
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 sprigs tarragon
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Rinse chicken thighs in water, and pat them very dry with paper towels. Sprinkle over them the flour, salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, cook the chicken, in batches if necessary, until well browned and crisp on all sides. Set aside.
Add the whole shallots to the pot and sauté them in the butter and chicken fat until they begin to soften and caramelize, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pot, stir with a large spoon, then add the mustard and tarragon, then the chicken thighs. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot, stir lightly to combine and serve immediately.
Adapted from Andrew and Rishia Zimmerman, by way of Martha Stewart, as published in the March 23, 2014 New York Times
More Recipes Showcasing Cherry Tomatoes: SPQR’s Smoked Linquine with Clams, Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto