I stumbled across this recipe while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.
Sometimes a recipe will jump out at me and I'll know that I'm going to make it, like an itch that's got to be scratched. I think this is how it goes for people who love food - you just know that you're going to have to make a dish when it calls your name. Then, you look for every excuse to make and serve it.
This was one of those recipes.
Before you make this dish, there's something you need to know about making a savory meal with fruit.
In the mid-western household that I grew up in, most of our dinners consisted of a meat, a potato, a gravy, and a vegetable - all very traditional, southern, and the kind of thing that sticks to your ribs.
If you grew up in a home like mine, you're thinking this meat and fruit combination thing is totally weird, right? Take my word for it, it's not. You'll wish you had tried it sooner.
This dish is delicious and it gives you all the things you want out of chicken - tender juicy meat wrapped inside of a crispy exterior. It's the perfect summer dish, seemingly a little more extravagant, and just in time to catch peaches while they're in season.
Savory Marinated Peaches
adapted from Fine Cooking
Makes 3 cups
3 medium ripe peaches, pitted and sliced or cut into wedges
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-1/2 Tbs. brandy (or your favorite booze, I think bourbon would taste great too!)
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (about 2 sprigs)
To prepare the marinated peaches, place ingredients in a medium sized bowl and combine. If your peaches are on the softer side, be sure to fold gently as not to cause peaches lose their shape. Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
TIP: I use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop to remove peach pits. It works great and is way easier than try to cut them out with a knife.
TIP: To speed along the process of stripping rosemary needles from the stem, slide your fingers from the top of the sprig toward the bottom. The needles should come right off.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Marinated Peaches
adapted from Fine Cooking
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
1 oz. bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
3 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8)
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced (1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups marinated peaches
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp drained capers (optional)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
To begin preparing chicken, preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in center of oven.
In an 8-quart Dutch oven or similar sized heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until bacon is crispy but not burnt. Once bacon is crisp, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels, and set aside. At this point, add a little more oil to the pan if it is dry.
To brown the chicken, begin by thoroughly patting the chicken dry on all sides with paper towels. Once you've dried the chicken, season with a few pinches of salt and a few cracks of pepper on each side. Then, brown the chicken thighs on both sides, working in batches of 4 at a time, and transfer to a plate. You're looking for a rich golden brown color to appear, especially on the skin side of the chicken thigh.
After you've browned the chicken thighs and removed them to a plate, Turn the heat down to medium low and remove all but 1 Tbsp of fat from the pan. Add the leek and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the flour to the leek and garlic mixture, stirring constantly for 1 minute. The flour is going to act as a thickening agent to the sauce, make sure it doesn't burn as it can contribute an unpleasant taste to the final sauce. After the flour mixture has cooked for 1 minute, pour in the reserved peach marinade and deglaze the pan by scraping up any delicious browned bits that have adhered to the pan's bottom with a whisk or wooden spoon. After about 2 minutes, the liquid will thicken. If you have difficulty getting the browned bits to loosen up, try stirring in a little broth - this worked for me. Then, stir in the rest of the broth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
Arrange the chicken in the pan with the skin side up and allow the pan to return to a boil. Transfer to the oven, uncovered, to braise until chicken in cooked through, about 25 minutes.
After chicken has braised in the oven, removed pan and turn broiler on high. Remove chicken from pan and transfer, skin side up, to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Return pan to stove top and simmer the sauce over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally.
Once reduced, turn heat down to medium and stir in capers (optional) and marinated peaches and simmer. Once capers and peaches are heated through, stir in 1 Tbs. of fresh tarragon (or 1 tsp. dried tarragon) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place chicken under the broiler for about 3 minutes until skins is golden and crisp.
Once crisp, arrange chicken in the pan with the sauce. Sprinkle with bacon and remaining tarragon, and serve.