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If you’re looking for a flavorful, simple, one-pot meal that’s low fat to boot, well then you’ve come to the right place.  For realsies, no added fat! This was just a weeknight meal that turned out to be especially tasty, thank goodness I decided to take pictures!

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The technique for braising chicken is a good one to have in your repertoire because with the same method, you can change the flavor profiles to suit any sort of cuisine.  Seriously, everyone in the world likes braised chicken!  Some tomatoes and herbs and you can go Mediterranean with it, some curry paste and coconut milk and you have a Thai flavored pot of goodness, cumin and a variety of fresh or dried chilis and you have some Latin flair…

Chicken braises are also versatile when it comes to your starches too, you can serve this yummy southern/creole braise with grits like I did, or mashed potatoes, or noodles, or rice.  Super easy-peasy.

Creole Braised Chicken – served with grits

Serves 4 – cost approx $1.47 per serving

Ingredients

  • 5 pieces chicken – I prefer thighs ($2.50)
  • 3-5 Tbs blackening spice – I’ve got one here: https://fullbellyfullwallet.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/black-macks-heres-to-summer/
  • 1-2 onions, large dice ($1)
  • 2 ribs celery, large dice ($.25)
  • 2 carrots, large dice ($.25)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, large dice ($.25)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 can (3oz) tomato paste ($.25)
  • 2 cups chicken stock ($0 for home made)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Tbs minced parsley ($.12)
  • Starchy side of your choice – about $1 for my grits!

Alright, your basic methodology for braised chicken is just a few simple steps:  #1 Brown your chicken and veggies. #2 Build you flavors.  #3  Deglaze the pot and build the sauce.  #4 Simmer away.  #5 Adjust and finish.

#1) First, season you chicken pieces with the blackening spice and sear with the skin side down over medium high heat in a large pot.  Sear the backside too.  Since there’s some fat in the chicken skin, I didn’t need to add any to the pot.  If you want to use a leaner meat or skinless chicken, add a tablespoon or two of your vegetable oil of choice at the get go.

Don’t be afraid to get it nice and truly brown.  Remove from the pot and set aside.

Really brown it up!

Really brown it up!

Next, toss in your veggies and brown them too, it should take 5-10 minutes.

IMG_0770#2) This is the flavor building step.  With this particular braise there’s a lot of flavor in the blackening spice still left in the pot, so just add the tomato paste and cook it 3-5 minutes or until it gets nice and really brown too.  If it were any other braise here is where I would add any curry paste or dry herbs and spices.

#3) Deglazing is the fun part.  Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil while scraping up all the yummy brown bits on the bottom.  The stock provides the body of the sauce.  You could deglaze with a up to 1/2 cup of your alcoholic beverage of choice, but use stock for the majority of your liquid.

#4) Simmer down! Once your pot has come to a happy bubble, knock it down to a simmer and return the chicken to the pot.  Add in the bay leaf too.  Let the pot simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to a few hours, partially covered.  Stir every half hour or so.  Honestly though, I put on an episode of Doctor Who and forgot about it entirely for an hour and it was just fine.

See? Just fine.

See? Just fine.

#5) Finishing it up.  Take a taste of your delicious concoction and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Stir in the parsley.  At the very end is the time to add any fresh herbs or dairy products (like maybe sour cream or cheese?)  You’re only limited by your imagination.

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