What do you do at your house when the smoke detectors go off when you’re cooking? I seem to have a lot of experience with this, setting them off twice in the last week alone.
When they go off around here it is somewhat comical to watch. I run around and open a bunch of windows and crack the front door (and of course it happens most on cold days), then start pressing the buttons on the smoke detectors hoping one might turn it off while frantically waving a towel trying to convince the smoke to go away. Of course while all this is happening I am swearing (under my breadth) and whatever I was burning is still smoking away on the stove top…oops.
This most recently occurred when I was making a magnificent chicken with shallots dish I found on the New York Times website. The recipe calls for you to brown chicken thighs in butter, and when they are done caramelize the shallots in the left over butter and chicken fat. The problem was that I had very little butter and fat in the sauté pan at that point (likely due to using boneless, skinless thighs vs. the bone-in thighs called for), so instead of caramelizing the shallots started to burn. With the alarms going full force my wife poked her head around the corner and politely suggested I quit smoking up the house and add more butter to the pan. Why I didn’t think to do that is a mystery, but we all need help in our evolutionary journey from time to time.
With the help of that additional butter I was able to successfully caramelize the shallots and get on with the meal. Once the shallots are ready you simply add white wine and tarragon to the pan, throw the chicken back in and simmer covered for half an hour – then remove the cover and let it cook down for another 15-20 minutes. At the very end you add some halved cherry tomatoes into the pan and serve.
The flavors in this dish were magnificent. The wine, the tarragon, the chicken, the shallots and the tomatoes all infused the sauce with a beautiful combination of flavors. I highly recommend this one – and strongly suggest you serve it some nice crusty bread to soak up every last drop of that sauce.
Recipe: Chicken with Shallots