Tag Archives: chicken thighs

Tinga de Pollo y Papas

Most of what we in the United States think of as Mexican food is derived from the post-conquest cuisines of the border states of Chihuahua and Sonora. The Spanish influence is seen in the heavy use of cheese and meat which were virtually unknown in pre-Columbia Mesoamerica.  Farther south in Puebla and Oaxaca the food retains more of its traditional character. Chef and cookbook author Rick Bayless champions this distinctly more interesting cuisine. This recipe, which I adapted from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen (New York: Scribner, 1996), pp 322-323, is an example from Puebla. Traditionally, tinga does not contain potatoes but Bayless’s use of them gives the dish an interesting texture and flavor. And, after all, potatoes are in the same botanical family and originated in the same area of South America as do tomatoes. In Mexico City, tinga is served on crispy tostadas topped with queso fresco and a slice of avocado. I usually present it with a plate of warm corn tortillas, shredded sharp cheddar, and avocado if I have some.


Garlic, unpeeled

3 or more cloves

Canned chipotles en adobo

2 or more to taste

Tomatoes, diced or whole

1 14-ounce can

Chicken fat, oil, lard, or combination

30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) divided use

Chicken thighs, skinless*


Boiling potatoes

3 or 4 medium, about 250 grams (½ pound)

Onion, yellow or white

1 medium, about 125 grams (¼ pound)

Dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1 teaspoon


To taste

Tortillas, corn or flour, to serve

3 or 4 per person

Avocado slices and cheese, to garnish

To taste

* bone-in are best.


Put the garlic cloves, unpeeled, in a small dry skillet over medium heat, turning from time to time, until they have softened. When cool enough to handle, remove the peels and put into a food processor or blender along with the chipotles and tomatoes with their juice. Process to a smooth puree.

Warm 15 milliliters (1 Tablespoon) of the fat in a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat. When nearly smoking, pour in the puree and cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium-low and submerge the chicken thighs in the sauce. Cover and simmer until the meat is done, about 25 minutes. Remove the thighs to a plate, leaving as much sauce as possible behind. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones in large shreds.

Using the coarse grating disk of the food processor or a hand grater, shred the potatoes. Roll them into a kitchen towel and squeeze out as water as possible. Thinly slice the onion. Add the remaining fat to a large non-stick skillet (I use a 12” one) over medium heat. Cook the potatoes and onions, tossing or stirring regularly, until well browned. Pour in the sauce, sprinkle on the oregano, and fold in the chicken. Heat through and season to taste with salt.

Turn the finished tinga into a warmed serving bowl. Present with warmed tortillas and garnishes.

Thai Chicken and Summer Squash Curry

Known in French as courgette, summer squash is one of my favorite vegetables. There are so many ways to prepare it from stewed into ratatouille to sliced and grilled or even just cubed and eaten raw. And, if you are careful not to overcook it into mushy bits it is very good in light Thai-style curries. I suspect that this recipe would most authentically be made with the golf-ball-sized green eggplant popular in Thailand, but this combination is well worth a try. Besides the aforementioned eggplant, one could use zucchini or any other of the summer squashes in this recipe.

Note that I use rather a lot of squash for the amount of meat. That is because I am cutting back on meat partly because it is better for the environment and partly because I believe recipes like this are more authentic with less reliance on protein. Feel free to use more chicken if you wish.

You can buy green curry paste and coconut milk at any Asian market and at most larger American supermarkets or you can make them yourself. Lemongrass is readily available in Asian markets as well and many supermarkets now carry it. I have not seen fresh kaffir lime leaves in my area so I use shredded ones that come in jars. Again, they are generally available in Asian markets and some American grocery stores. If you cannot find them, just leave them out.

Yield: two servings with rice



Chicken cubes*

250 grams

8 ounces


30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Green curry paste

45 milliliters

3 Tablespoons


1 stalk

1 stalk

Kaffir lime leaves, chopped, optional

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Fish sauce

60 milliliters

¼ cup

Palm sugar***

60 milliliters

¼ cup

Coconut milk

400 milliliters

1⅔ cup

Summer squash in bite-sized cubes

1 medium (500 grams)

1 medium (1 pound)

* thigh and/or breast meat

** or substitute 30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) lemon juice

*** or substitute light brown sugar


Heat the oil in a wok or large pan and fry the curry paste for a minute or two until very fragrant. Add the chicken and stir fry until no longer pink on the outside. Bruise the lemongrass with the side of a knife then put it into the pan along with the kaffir lime leaves, if using, fish sauce, palm sugar or substitute, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is nearly cooked through—about 20 minutes.

Mix in the squash, making sure that they are all in the liquid. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the squash are tender but still firm.

Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve over steamed jasmine rice.


Adapted from: http://australian.food.com/recipe/easy-thai-chicken-summer-squash-curry-200808?mode=us&scaleto=3.0&st=null

Cuisses de Poulet au Vin Rouge

This braise of chicken thighs in red wine is nothing more, or less, than a simplified version of the classic Coq au Vin, hence the fancy French name. Unlike the traditional recipe which is best made with a tough old laying hen cooked for hours to make it tender, this version using boneless or bone-in thighs cooks rather quickly making it suitable for a weeknight dinner. However, unlike the original, I would be reluctant to make it in a slow-cooker for fear of reducing the more tender meat to mush. If you want to be really authentic, brown the chicken in bacon fat instead of oil and butter. Be sure not to skimp on the thyme—its flavor is the essence of the dish—but don’t be afraid to use dried if you do not have fresh. I would use about a teaspoon in place of the four sprigs. Serve with boiled potatoes.

Serves 2 generously


4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (or not)


Salt and pepper

Olive oil and/or butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 carrots, diced

250 g (8 oz.) white mushrooms, quartered or sliced depending on size

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh savory (optional)

½ 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

125 ml (½ cup) red wine

Flour and water slurry, as needed


Season a quantity of flour (I use rice flour for a gluten free dish) with salt and pepper then dredge the chicken. Heat the oil and/or butter in a lidded braisier or Dutch oven over a medium high flame. Working in batches if need be, brown the chicken thoroughly on each side, adding a bit more oil as needed. Set aside.  

Reduce the heat to medium-low, adjust the fat in the pan to about a tablespoon, and sweat the onion and carrots until softened but not colored. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms express their moisture.  Stir in the tomatoes and wine then add the herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Return the chicken to the pan submerging it into the sauce, adding a bit more wine if needed. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is done. If the sauce is too thin, stir in some flour slurry (or beurre manié) and boil gently, stirring, until thickened. Remove the thyme twigs and adjust seasoning before serving.

Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables

Consistent with my repeated admonition that one should complete all preparatory work before beginning to cook I have altered the format of my recipes a bit. I welcome feedback on the change.

chicken thighs with root vegetablesIf you like crispy-skinned chicken you will love this simple recipe. I pan-roast the chicken using the common restaurant technique of searing it in a very hot skillet then finishing it in the oven. Since the oven is already hot, I accompany it with roasted root vegetables. The quantities and types of vegetable I specified in the recipe are just what I used on one occasion; feel free to alter them to your taste. To avoid overcooking, be sure that the vegetables are nearly done before starting the chicken.



Firm potatoes (2 medium)

about 1 pound

about 450 grams

Carrots (2 medium)

6 ounces

170 grams


6 ounces

170 grams


12 ounces

340 grams


2 or 3 cloves

2 or 3 cloves

Fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon

15 milliliters

Olive oil

2 tablespoons

30 milliliters

Chicken thighs, skin on, bone in

12 ounces

340 grams

Cooking oil

1 teaspoon

5 milliliters

Salt and pepper

to taste

to taste


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Position one rack near the bottom and one in the top third of the oven.

Scrub or peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) cubes. Scrape the carrots and cut into piece about the size of the potatoes. Peel and cube the beets. Peel the onions and halve or quarter so that they too are similar in size to the rest of the vegetables. Mince the garlic and chop the rosemary leaves. Pour the olive oil into a large bowl. Add the garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the vegetables with the seasoned oil and place in a shallow roasting pan (I use a half-sheet pan).

Rinse and dry the chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper.


Roast the vegetables on the bottom rack of the oven, turning with tongs from time to time.

After the vegetables have roasted for about 20 minutes, place a cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Add the cooking oil and immediately put in the chicken thighs, skin side down. Sear for 2 or 3 minutes then turn over and place the skillet on the upper rack in the oven. Cook until done, about 8 to 10 minutes.