Before we get on the subject of braised chicken recipes, first off, I just want to say that I’ve been so blown away by your pre-order love. Thank you from the bottom of my healthy hedonist heart for taking the time to grab an early copy of The Wellness Project, and for sending so many sweet notes of encouragement with your receipts, especially those of you who managed to figure out that I left an “s” off wellness in the email instructions…which is most of you, since apparently, I can’t spell my own book name! (FYI folks, send your receipts to [email protected] to get your free gift!)
This year has been a strange one for me. After two years of toiling in the creative void, the energy all of a sudden shifted into full throttle execution mode. There has been a lot of list-making, email churning, and favor-asking. And in the midst of all the balls in the air, I’ve been having a really hard time putting on my blinders and sitting down to write.
I know I’ve mentioned this article before about the different hats we all wear on a day to day basis. Well, I’ve been wearing the “agent fedora” for a few months now. It feels energizing and exciting—-full of forward motion instead of stewing within the confines of my mind. But my creativity has taken a hit, even in the kitchen, where that’s usually not a problem.
Luckily, it’s been a particularly badass season for new cookbooks, so I’ve been using them to get me out of my recipe rut. Or, rather, I’ve been using them to bring creativity to the table so that I don’t have to.
My most recent makings: an almond flour turmeric chicken picatta from this book; goji granola from this one; butternut squash Brussels sprout hash from this fave; and, of course, this braised chicken recipe with coconut milk, leeks and scallions from Molly Gilbert’s new book One Pan and Done.
From my years of working as a private chef and caterer, I’ve become rather allergic to washing dishes. When you do enough of them as part of your day job, it can make you that much more repelled by the idea of doing more during your off hours. Which is to say that I am all about the art of the one pan dinner. My cast iron skillet is my BFF.
Molly’s book is a bible for easy weeknight meals that find creativity within the confines of one vehicle, and without the unnecessary logistics (and dishwashing) that come with more complicated meals.
I love the French-Vietnamese mash up of this chicken dish. Coconut milk and ginger with leeks and tarragon? So simple, yet so interesting! When I used to cater around Easter and Passover I was always looking for a new roasted chicken recipe that was great for serving a crowd. This one is on the menu for this year. (Past ones included this, this and this).
I used my BFF to make this recipe, but had to take the chicken out of the skillet to make room for the veg since it wasn’t big enough for them to sauté with the protein in there. This might be because I used one whole chicken split instead of all breasts as called for in the recipe (I’m a dark meat kind of gal). The lemon zest added a lovely fragrance to the braising liquid, and I cut up the remaining lemon and served the chicken with wedges on the side. You could also thinly slice it for a beautiful presentation on a big holiday platter.
Finally, to close the loop on this whole creative rut business. I’ve found that the best way to shift my energy is to get out of my space. I’m in Sedona for the week, soaking up the vortexes, doing some writing, and eating mountains of New Age raw food. Think green smoothies, followed by green goddess salads, which are topped with even more green spirulina.
You can check out my Instagram stories for more on those happenings, and I’ll be sure to return with plenty of ammo for a Healthy Hedonist travel guide, creative southwestern dishes to share, and perhaps a new crystal or two to keep the creative juices flowing back home.
From one healthy, one-pan loving hedonist, to another,
Braised Chicken Ginger-Coconut Chicken with Leeks and Tarragon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (or 1 whole chicken cut into parts)
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 medium leeks white and light green parts only, sliced into half-moons and rinsed of any grit
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- One 1-inch piece of ginger peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- One 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish
- 3 scallions white and light green parts only
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place a rack in the center position.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or lidded saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear, without moving, until the pieces pull away easily from the bottom of the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook two minutes more. If your pot is crowded, remove the chicken to plate (this was necessary for me), and then add the leeks, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the broth, coconut milk, and tarragon. Return the chicken to the pot if you removed it and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pot, slide it into the oven, and bake until cooked through or a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 degrees F, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Serve hot sprinkled with the scallions, some extra tarragon and lemon wedges.
- I had to take the chicken out of the pan to make room for the veg.
- Serve with lemon wedges on the side for some extra acid. The zest added a lovely fragrance to the braising liquid.