Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Valentine's Day

I know it can be cheesy, but I've always loved Valentine's Day.  Having my birthday the day before didn't hurt when sometimes I had heart-shaped birthday cakes, heart themed birthday decorations, and an extension of the celebration.  My husband and I stopped eating out for Valentine's Day years ago and used to cook together to celebrate.  In recent years (because, you know, kids), this has changed too and now I try to make a special breakfast or dinner that the kids will enjoy.

This year, Valentine's Day was on a Wednesday when I didn't have work and I had a bye for tennis, so I had a little extra time on a school morning to make heart shaped pancakes with strawberries.  For dinner, I made a recipe I've been looking at for a little while . . . it was a big hit and I'll definitely make it again.  This is a lighter, healthier version of a one-pot comfort food and the flavors were rich and satisfying.  I liked how my kids could eat the parts (read: just the chicken or maybe some sausage) that they enjoyed.  I served it with a green salad and breadsticks.

Braised Chicken with Sausage & Peppers (serves 4)
original recipe from Serious Eats

6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
3-4 links sweet or hot Italian Sausage (I used mild Italian chicken sausage)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 T minced fresh sage leaves
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers
1/4 cup of the pick line liquid from the pepperoncinis
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat some olive oil in a 4-6 qt Dutch Oven (or ovenproof skillet with a lid) over medium high heat and cook until each side is browned, about 8 minutes total.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the sausage links to the same pot and cook until well browned on each side, about 4 minutes total.  Remove from pan and cut each link in half.

To the same pot, add the onions and peppers.  You can add a little vegetable oil if there isn't rendered oil from the sausage.  Stir, scraping up browned bits, until the onion and peppers are soft and starting to brown.  Add garlic and sage and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Then, add pepperoncinis and their liquid, stirring and deglazing the pan.  Add the wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.  Add the chicken stock, give it a stir, and return the sausage and chicken to the pan.  Transfer to the oven and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.  Serve immediately, spooning the sauce over the chicken and sausage.

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