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Braised Chicken Thighs With Dried Porcini

  • 1/6
    Braised Chicken Thighs With Dried Porcini
  • 2/6
    Soaked porcini, diced onion and chicken thighs coated in flour
  • 3/6
    Chop the mushrooms roughly after soaking them for 20 minutes
  • 4/6
    Add the onion to the skillet and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until translucent and soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • 5/6
    Place the browned chicken in the skillet, on top of the onions.
  • 6/6
    Add the mushrooms, placing them in the spaces between the chicken, and sprinkle some over the top. Add the soaking liquid and ¼ cup of water, and generously sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Jan 22, 2016

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Braised Chicken Thighs With Dried Porcini

While I was visiting with her recently over Christmas, my mom made this excellent dish for lunch one day. She lives in the Czech Republic, in the country, and she and her sister love foraging for mushrooms in the nearby forests.

It is almost like a sport for them. Regularly in summer and early fall, a few days after it rains, they get up early in the morning so they can beat any competition and visit their favorite (and secret) spots. If they’re lucky, they return with baskets full of boletes, parasols, chanterelles and milk caps. (Growing up, I tried a few times too, but I usually picked the poisonous ones or didn’t find anything at all, so I pretty much gave up. Apparently, one must have sharp eyes and a good instinct for where to look.) They make an egg scramble with some of the mushrooms, and the rest get sliced thinly, spread on old newspapers, and dried in the sun.

Dried mushrooms are a fantastic ingredient to cook with; they add a robust, woodsy, umami flavor and a meaty, chewy texture. They’re a key ingredient in my favorite Czech potato soup.

Here, they work nicely as a delicate pedestal for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. They are simply braised together in the oven in the mushrooms’ soaking liquid with just onion, salt and black pepper, resulting in a satisfying, rustic meal. It’s really good served with steamed basmati rice or the way my mom made it—with mashed potatoes.

By the way, commercially sold dried porcini tend to be on the expensive side—in the States, you can buy them online or sometimes at farmers’ markets—so it’s OK to use less of them in this recipe. In the past, I made it with one cup of mushrooms and one cup of diced carrots, and it was just as delicious. 

O

  1. Serves 2–4
  2. 2 cups dried porcini mushrooms
  3. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  4. Unbleached all-purpose flour
  5. 6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
  6. 1 cup yellow onion, peeled, diced
  7. Salt
  8. Black pepper, freshly ground

1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the mushrooms in a bowl, pour 2 cups of hot water over them, and let soak for 20 minutes.

2

Place about 1/2 cup of the flour in a small bowl, and use it to lightly coat the chicken thighs all over. Shake off any excess flour and set aside.

3

In a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil or ghee over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs—do not crowd the skillet; work in batches if necessary—and sear on both sides until the surface of the meat is browned, about 2–3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

4

Add the onion to the skillet and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until translucent and soft, about 6–8 minutes.

5

Drain the mushrooms, but preserve the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms roughly.

6

Place the chicken in the skillet, on top of the onions. Add the mushrooms, placing them in the spaces between the chicken, and sprinkle some over the top. Add the soaking liquid and ¼ cup of water, and generously sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven until the meat is soft, about 45¬–50 minutes. Serve with steamed white rice or mashed potatoes.

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