Another cold day in Wichita... another day spent in the test kitchen. This dish has all the right ingredients for an excellent, hearty evening recipe. It's got chicken, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other good stuff.
Clean and dry the chicken, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Chef’s Note: To save money, buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet, over medium heat.
When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken pieces, skin down and allow to sauté without moving for about 5 minutes.
Turn the chicken over and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
Chef’s Note: Unless you have one heck of a large pan, you will need to sauté the chicken in two batches.
Chef’s Note: If you crowd too much chicken into the pan, it won’t sauté it… you’ll steam it in it’s own juices.
Chef’s Tip: In the right light, when you look at oil that's at a good temperature for sautéing; nice and hot, but not yet smoking, it will shimmer. Shimmering oil is good for sautéing because it increases the chances that the food won't stick. Hot oil immediately seals the bottom of food, creating a natural barrier between it and the bottom of the pan.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and reserve.
Leave about 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the onions.
Cook until they begin to soften, but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
Chef’s Tip: The garlic is ready when it becomes fragrant. Do not let it burn.
Chef’s Note: When the onions hit the pan, until the garlic is nice a fragrant, keep stirring and moving the ingredients around. A busy pan is a happy pan.
Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock.
Add a pinch of salt, and then stir to incorporate.
Increase the heat under the sauté pan, and bring the liquid up to a simmer not a boil. When it hits the simmering stage, reduce the heat, but keep it hot enough to continue the simmer.
Chef’s Note: Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any fonds (brown bits) that many have developed while sautéing the onions and garlic.
Taste the sauce and season, if necessary.
Add the thyme springs to the sauce.
Add the chicken pieces, skin-side up.
Partially cover the sauté pan with the lid.
Allow the dish to continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Chef’s Note: If you have the pan on a simmer, it will not be necessary to do anything else. Just enjoy the great smells coming from the pan.
After the 30 minutes have elapsed, remove the chicken from the pan, add to a serving dish, and keep warm.
Increase the heat under the sauce, and allow it to thicken a bit, about an additional 8-10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan, and allow it to heat up a bit, and then return the chicken and the sauce to the serving dish.