Thighs

We’re not likely to forget the night we made this recipe anytime soon.  It was the first time in our nearly three and half years in this house that we set off the smoke detectors.  Yes, detectors, plural – the one in the basement, the one on the first floor (the level where the kitchen is located) and all three on the second floor decided to go off simultaneously.  (I assume they’re all connected so that when one goes off, they all do, but don’t know for sure.)  What I do know is that the two or three minutes it took Shane to run around silencing the shrill noise of five smoke detectors beeping in harmony was painfully long.  I even resorted to opening the deck slider to let some fresh (read brrrr chilly, you can see your breath cold) air in.  Looking on the bright side, I guess it’s comforting to know there’s absolutely no way we’ll sleep through the smoke alarm were a fire to break out in the middle of the night!

Thighs

I don’t mean to deter you – this recipe was definitely a hit here.  We eat chicken thighs with some regularity and the sauce served to elevate them to another level.  I’m really not a fan of beer (I know, I know) or grainy mustard, and still, this sauce was addictive; it’s part sweet, part tangy and really flavorful.  We liked it so much we wound up spooning the extra over the rice I served with the chicken. I recommend running the fan on your stove while the chicken cooks (and covering the pan with a screen, if you have one), as there is a fair amount of splatter.  We ran into trouble with the smoke detectors while the pan was in the oven so as an extra precaution you could open a window or door to circulate fresh air if it’s not 10 degrees out where you live.  Despite the drama, this is a definite repeat here; in fact, it’s already on the menu for next week. 

Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs w/Beer & Grainy Mustard Sauce
from Fine Cooking, December 2010/January 2011

8 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 medium shallots, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup amber lager (we used Amstel Light)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 475 F, with a rack set in the lower third. 

Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer.  Cook until the skin is well browned, about 7 minutes.  Flip the chicken and transfer the pan to the oven.  Roast the chicken until it is cooked through – an instant read thermometer should register 170 F, about 5-8 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.  Add the shallots to the pan and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour until combined. Gradually add the beer, chicken stock, maple syrup and thyme, whisking frequently.  Raise the heat to high, and bring the sauce to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the sauce reduces to about 1 cup (or to your desired consistency), about 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mustard and the butter, then season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, dip each chicken thigh in the sauce and turn to coat.  Plate the chicken, then spoon additional sauce over the top and garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.