Dinner and dessert! These Braised Cherry Tomato and Shallot Chicken Thighs are melt-in-your-mouth tender and loaded with extraordinary flavor! For dessert, more melt-in-your-mouth pleasure with a super creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake!
I’ve never been a huge fan of those network morning talk shows that dominate our TV’s from 9 am until noon. Regis and Kelly? As great as they are, they’re really loud and cheery at a time when I’m still trying to pry my eyelids open. When I was at the rehab facility for my knee last year, I had an older roommate (for a month) who would blast Regis and Kelly every single morning. I almost smothered myself with pillows, 5 days a week, trying to cover every sense above the neck.
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was when the month was up.
Last week as I was getting dressed, my TV, which seems to have a mind of its own at times, decided it wanted to watch one of those shows. It wasn’t too bad since it was Martha Stewart, and loud and perky aren’t adjectives you would use to describe Martha Stewart. Martha is staid and cool as a cucumber as she cooks, bakes and makes elaborate chandeliers out of paper clips. Anyone who can do that and still tend to farm animals and every vegetable, herb and flower garden known to man, is pretty cool in my book. Love her.
On this particular show, which stopped me mid-dress to actually pay attention, she had some of her cooks from a show called Everyday Food promoting a new cookbook. John Barricelli (the baker dude) made an apple brown betty and a ricotta lemon tart, and both looked great, but what really caught my eye and taste buds were these braised chicken thighs with shallots that some nice lady whipped up. Of course I had to get the recipe and try it, so I did.
So, today’s post was dinner and dessert at my house last night. I think these are the best braised chicken thighs I’ve ever had. I also made a mind-blasting mascarpone cheesecake, (which I’ll get to after I sing the praises of these drool-inducing braised chicken thighs) that I’m still thinking about as I type this, trying hard not to grab a fork and eat two more slices of it.
I’ve never been a huge fan of braised chicken of any sort because it has a tendency to dry out, but this recipe completely changed me. First off, using chicken thighs is a must. I think cut up or even whole chicken breasts might end up a little dry. Secondly, the mustard, garlic and honey literally seeps into each chicken thigh, flavoring it inside-out, which I haven’t encountered very often with braised chicken.
Does the phrase ‘Lick your plate clean’ entice you? It should, because you will do just that. I know it seems like a lot of shallots, but believe me, they melt into the mustard, garlic and honey braised chicken sauce and catapult the flavor of the braised chicken to the point where you might utter an involuntary, “OMFG”.
That said, I added the honey to these braised chicken thighs, and it really gasses it up a bit, but you know what? It really doesn’t need it because the melted shallots provide just the right amount of sweetness to counteract the mustard. You’ve got to try these braised chicken thighs. I’d be shocked if any of you were disappointed.
On another yummy note, while looking for a great way to use up the rest of the homemade mascarpone cheese from the Daring Bakers Tiramisu challenge, I came across a cheesecake that has comfortably settled into my top 5 cheesecakes of all time, along with Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake from the Daring Bakers April ’09 challenge.
Yes, the amount of mascarpone in ratio to the amount of cream cheese makes you wonder why it’s called Mascarpone Cheesecake, but that small amount provides such a rich flavor and creamy texture, I won’t ever question it again. So, you have three elements of creamy in this cheesecake – cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sour cream!
The only thing I did differently was bake it a bit longer than the recipe states, but that’s because my oven tends to run a little off-kilter at times, so 10 minutes longer is probably the way to go. Oh, and I drizzled it (shaky hands; blog stage fright) with some of the leftover caramel sauce (again) from my take on the Tiramisu challenge. Once again, you must try this cheesecake.
If you try either the braised chicken thighs or the mascarpone cheesecake, or both, I hope you enjoy them as much as everyone here did! I think I can pry my eyelids open for more morning Martha from hereon in.
Finally..*drum roll, please* – the winner of the free lotion, according to random integer.com, issss…Claudia of Honey from Rock, who was the 60th comment. Send your name and addy to firstname.lastname@example.org, Claudia, and Skin MD will send your free bottle right out to you :).
Braised Tomato and Shallot Chicken Thighs and Mascarpone Cheesecake
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, how about making the mascarpone cheese from scratch? It’s actually super easy!
- 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2½ pounds total)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound small shallots (about 12), peeled and halved
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- Fresh. torn tarragon leaves, to taste and for garnish (optional)
- Season chicken with salt and pepper; coat with flour, shaking off excess.
- In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove; set aside.
- Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in honey, mustard and 1½ cups water; bring to a boil.
- Return chicken, bone side down, to pot. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; loosely tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add tomatoes to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook on high until sauce has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and return chicken to pot; cook until heated through. Serve, garnished with tarragon, if desired.
Recipe from Epicurious.com
- 2⅓ cups ground vanilla wafers ground in food processor (about 70 vanilla wafers)
- 2⅓ cups
- 2½ eight-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature (about 1 cup)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Mix together cookie crumbs and butter in a bowl or pulse together in the food processor. Reserve ¼ cup buttered crumbs for the top of the cheesecake.
- Dump the rest of the crumbs into your buttered springform pan. Pat on the bottom and up the sides, keeping it about 1-inch thick. I like to use a flat glass bottom to really pack it in.
- Place springform pan with crust on the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack while you make the filling. Cool at least 25 minutes. Leave oven at 350°F.
- Beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating each egg in until well blended. ith the mixer on low, add vanilla, lemon juice, and salt and mix until combined. Pour filling into cooled crust and bake until cheesecake is set and puffed around edge but still jiggles slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in springform pan on rack, about 20 minutes. Cheesecake will continue to set as it cools. Leave the oven on.
- Stir together sour cream, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl and gently spoon over cheesecake, spreading evenly, leaving a ¼-inch border around edge.
- Bake cheesecake until topping is set, about 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge to prevent cracking. Sprinkle top with reserved crumbs and cool completely in pan on rack, then chill, covered loosely, for at least 8 hours.
Start this lovely braised chicken and cheesecake meal with a salad, and make sure you have some bread on hand because the braised chicken gravy is off the planet! A guy friend actually ate it with a gigantic spoon. Oh, good gravy, indeed!