Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's for Dinner

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I pulled some chicken thighs from the freezer this morning and brought this together in half an hour for dinner tonight. Trying to work fennel into the menu more often--it is a lovely vegetable that brings an unusual flavor to the table.

When I asked Nick what he thought "orechiette" meant, he said that the pasta looked like turtle shells, so that's what he thought the translation might be. I kind of like his answer, but the truth is that it is Italian for "little ears."

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Fennel over Pasta

8 chicken thighs
2 onions, sliced
2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 can whole tomatoes
1 1/2 cups (or so) chicken stock
1 lb orechiette pasta

Season the thighs with salt and pepper and saute them in a heavy dutch oven until browned on both sides. Make sure to do this in two batches so that you don't overcrowd the pan. Reserve the browned chicken on a plate, and pour the excess rendered fat out of the pan, leaving 1-2 tablespoons. Saute the onion and fennel in the pan for 6-8 minutes until it is wilting and fragrant. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Add the can of tomatoes--break them up with your hands or the tongs and stir in with the sauteed onions and fennel. Add enough stock to almost cover the veg. Return the chicken thighs to the pot, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35 or more minutes until the chicken is done--it gets better the longer it cooks. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Remove the thighs from the dutch oven, and pour the pasta into the sauce. Toss to coat. Serve pasta with the chicken.

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