Over the summer, I discovered a Brazilian fish recipe destined to be one of my top-five fish recipes. The other day, I decided to try adapting the spirit of the recipe for chicken. Fast forward to me cutting extra slices of bread just to sop up the fantastic sauce, and you have the following…
6 chicken thighs (or more or less, depending on size)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large vidalia onion
1 celery stalk
1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (double or triple if you want hot)
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
Marinate the chicken in the garlic, 2 tbsp of the cilantro, the juice of 2 limes, and a healthy sprinkling of salt. Let it rest for 30 or so.
In a food processor, combine the onion, carrot, celery stalk, and coconut milk and puree.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil in a dutch oven on high until very hot, and then brown the chicken thighs for a couple minutes on both sides, then remove back to marinade dish. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the white wine, lower heat and return chicken to the pot, adding in any garlic, cilantro and lime juice from the marinade dish. Pour the coconut milk puree over the top, and add the crushed tomatoes, the jalapeno, another 2 tbsp of cilantro, the juice of the last lime, and two more pinches of salt.
Gently mix the sauce around and spoon over the chicken thighs.
Place in the oven and after 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 300F. Let cook for another 45 to 60 minutes.
The one pain about this dish is that before you serve, you will need to spoon off the layer of oil (from the chicken fat).
This dish is best served with some white rice, lots of sauce poured on top, and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro (that last 2 tbsp).
I served this with some beet greens sauteed with sherry vinegar, a touch of red pepper flakes, half a small onion, and a clove of garlic (I had wanted to try this recipe, but had run out of apple cider vinegar). Still, this variation was still quite nice. In the chaos of my evening, I didn’t have time to make rice, so made do with some huge hunks of ciabatta bread. The meal went really nicely with a spicy, medium-to-full bodied red wine.