An elegant but surprisingly easy meal that will make you feel as though you’ve stumbled into a French bistro. Lay down a white tablecloth, light lots of candles and uncork a bottle of creamy Chardonnay for a chic evening in. Travel, in the comfort of your own kitchen.
In terms of accompaniments this needs nothing more than some steamed broccoli and fluffy baguette, though if feeding friends I would probably follow it up with a dessert and a cheese course for a more substantial offering.
4 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
200g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and roughly broken into pieces (or sliced)
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 heaped dessert spoon of cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat a wide pot or deep pan with a lid over medium-high heat. (Leaving the lid off for now.)
Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Add a small drizzle of olive oil and when hot, add the chicken, skin-side down. Don’t poke, prod or move the chicken. Give it lots of time to develop a deep golden crust.
Tip: If you’re cooking more than four thighs, sear the chicken in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
When you’ve reached a desirable golden crust, flip the chicken and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Skim off all but a tablespoon of the fat, then add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until softened, then add the mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
Add the garlic, thyme, a good grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook for another minute or two, then add the brandy. Cook until the brandy has evaporated, then add the chicken stock. Return the chicken the pan, bring to a simmer and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat a little and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, or until chicken has cooked through.
Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the cream cheese to the pan with a good grinding of pepper. Stir until the cream cheese has melted, then return the chicken to the pan. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve.