In an effort to share more of our very most every day meals, the ones I throw together with whatever’s left in the fridge, or the staples I can make with my eyes half closed at the end of a long day, I’ve started posting occasional short, simple posts just about these meals. I call it vær så god, Norwegian for “bon appetit.”
When I really can’t think of what to make for dinner, I fall back on one of two things: salmon or chicken thighs. Both are flavorful, pretty quick to cook, and lend themselves to infinite variations in how you spice them, whether it be with a marinade (except that takes planning ahead, bah), a spice-herb rub, or a sauce. I mostly roast my chicken thighs, forgetting the wonderful succulence that is braised chicken. You don’t get crispy skin when you braise your chicken, that’s the major drawback. But, the meat comes out so juicy in a good braise, it’s fairly easy to forgive the skin for not crisping up.
I recently got Louisa Shafia’s new book, The New Persian Kitchen. It’s full of accessible but interesting recipes, and the very first one I tried was this recipe for turmeric chicken. It’s almost laughably easy – just sprinkle some turmeric and salt on your chicken, brown it, add garlic and water, squeeze on a lime – but the intensity of the flavors and that juicy, juicy braised chicken belie how little effort you had to put into them. It’s perfect accompanied by some rice and any simple steamed or sauteed vegetables you’ve a hankering for. This is going to be one of my new go-to’s for evenings when I’m so tired and lazy I can barely lift a spatula but I’m still craving good food. (Which, when it comes down to it, is quite a lot of my evenings!) Go forth and braise, my friends! (I was going to say “braise the roof,” but I restrained myself. I hope you are as proud of me as I am…)
Vær så god!
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons peanut or coconut oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- ¾ cup water
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 juicy limes, halved
- Sumac, for garnish (I actually totally spaced on adding the sumac - even though I have sumac! - and it was fine without it)
- In a small bowl, mix together the turmeric with 2 tsp. salt and 1-2 tsp. ground black pepper. Rub the chicken pieces all over with this spice blend.
- In a large skillet or braising pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin side down and let it cook undisturbed for 7 minutes, until burnished and brown. Flip the chicken pieces and brown them on the other side for another 5-7 minutes.
- Add the shallot around the chicken and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and garlic to the pan and give a little stir. Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Cover and let the chicken gently cook for 25 minutes, until cooked through and tender.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, turn the heat back up and cook thr sauce down until it reaches the thickness you want. (I did a couple minutes, as Louisa suggests.) Pour the sauce over the chicken and squeeze the limes over. Garnish with a sprinkling of sumac, if using, and serve.