Food & Wine (February 2011)
Any time we get to visit New York City, we plan the weekend around food. It's typically reservations for lunch and dinner, with a healthy dose of art, shopping and drinks with friends thrown in, too. Sometimes, a "snack" (some might call it a "second lunch") is crammed into the schedule.
We feel lucky to have had some amazing meals while in NYC, and years later, a number of them still stand out, like a Honeycrisp apple salad at Cookshop, a jaw-dropping Porterhouse at Keen's and, believe it or not, Cornish hens at Prune.
When we visited Prune a few years ago, Zach ordered Cornish hens that were stuffed with raisins. The birds were delish, like super-flavorful roast chicken. And the raisins, mixed with herbs and other vegetables, were plump, sweet and delicious. We both loved the dish and we've thought about it ever since.
So when we saw these Crispy Chicken Thighs with Golden Raisin Compote featured in Food & Wine, we jumped at the chance to make it.
Plus, we love cooking with dried fruit, whether it's in wild rice, on top of lamb (one of our favorite dishes from the first year of the blog), or in a mostardo (if you haven't had a mostardo before, make this one before the weather warms up!).
The chicken in this dish is good, but frankly isn't anything special. It's like many chicken preparations: pan-roasted to achieve a crispiness in the skin, and then transferred to the oven to finish. It's good, but eaten alone, it would taste like any old chicken.
But what makes this dish excellent is the compote. Golden raisins are definitely the star. Plumped up slightly by a brief sauté in wine and sweetened by honey and thyme, they're absolutely amazing. And the addition of butternut squash and tangy green apple makes the compote even better. Add a little bit of cinnamon and cayenne, and you get one incredible compote.
In fact, if we had one quibble with this recipe, it's that we wanted more compote -- think about doubling the compote and either feasting on it or saving it for another dish.
As good as this compote is on chicken, we can't stop thinking of other ways to utilize it (and other excuses for making it again)! It would be stellar on turkey or pork, amazing as a wild-rice add-in, terrific as a breakfast oatmeal topping -- and pretty darn tasty eaten by itself, straight out of a bowl.
TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 cups golden raisins (1/2 pound)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 6 ounce bone-in chicken thighs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a skillet, melt the butter. Add the squash, cover and cook over moderate heat until almost tender, 3 minutes. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute. Add the apple, cinnamon and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add the raisins, wine, honey and thyme and cook until the wine is almost evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In an ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over high heat until the skin is crisp, 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 6 minutes, until cooked through; serve with the compote.