Everything about winter here in Seattle screams “eat hot food with warming spices.” I thought I knew what I was getting into, weather-wise, as I lived in Oregon for three years. You know what Seattle has that Eugene, OR does not? WATER. Puget Sound and multiple lakes. From the hill we live on, we can see the mist rising off the water (and blowing up the hill at us). It is chilly in a very wet way.
Chicken thighs are cheaper and easier to cook without drying out than chicken breasts. But they can be greasy. So to get around that, these are cooked, cooled, and warmed again to allow for straining off most of the fat. This is either a good make ahead recipe (the night before) or make it in the morning and reheat it for dinner.
This chicken is based on wanting spice flavors and winter — and I totally understand why citrus is such a good winter flavor, as it’s great and sunny. I mixed these two up to stew chicken thighs, adding greens right at the end to absorb the flavor. I served this with a bit of dressing I’m working on, and I think mashed parsnips would also be a great side. It made for an easy Sunday dinner to start the week off warmly.
Orange Spiced Stewed Chicken Thighs
This stewed chicken recipe does call for cooking, cooling, and then reheating the meat and sauce after straining or skimming off the fat. Plan accordingly.
1wholestar anise(or enough pieces to approximate 1)
3whole cardamom pods
2poundschicken thighsbone in, skin off
freshly ground pepperto taste
2cupsmixed cooking greensroughly chopped
Add water and whole spices to a large pot. Bring to a boil, then add tea bags, turn off heat, and cover. Steep 15 minutes.
Remove tea bags and whole spices. Add orange juice, bring to a boil.
Add chicken thighs, and bring again to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. If liquid covers the chicken only part way (likely), cook 15 minutes, covered, then flip chicken and cook for another 15 minutes, covered. Cook a final 15 minutes, uncovered.
Now remove the chicken from the juice and cool all of it for at least a few hours or overnight. This will allow you to remove the excess fat from the cooking liquid. Skim or strain it out.
Bring the cooking liquid back to a boil and then add the chicken thighs. Turning the heat down, simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the greens (I used spinach and kale here) and cook until the greens are wilted -- this will depend on your greens, but 5-15 minutes is a good guess for anything short of collard greens (don't use collards -- they require a different cooking method). Spinach, kale, and chard are all good options.