RECIPE: Get saucy with end-of-summer tomatoes

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

When you’re still finding tomatoes at the farmers market or in your CSA share, but you’re tired of sandwiches and craving something warm and cozy, consider making a braising sauce.

Fresh tomatoes have plenty of their own liquid and, when cooked down with butter and aromatics, turn into a rich, colorful and flavorful mixture in which to gently cook chicken thighs.

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I like to use a combination of quick-cooking shallots and thinly slivered fresh ginger as the aromatic base for the sauce. The shallots add backbone and the ginger brings a gentle heat to the mixture. Once these ingredients have turned tender in a generous amount of butter, I lay thick slices of tomato into the pot and top with boneless skinless chicken thighs. The tomatoes will gradually let go of their liquid but, because they’re not stirred and agitated while cooking, they’ll somewhat keep their shape and can be scooped out along with the chicken once it’s done.

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Just about any fresh herb will make for a fine finish to the dish, but I especially like fresh basil. Its herbaceous bite pairs well with both the ginger and the tomatoes, and it gives the dish a pop of color.

Serve the chicken thighs straight from the pot with plenty of bread or rice to soak up the tangy, buttery sauce.

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Tomato-Braised Chicken Thighs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced into rounds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • On the side: Steamed rice or crusty bread
  • Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger and continue to cook, still stirring, until aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Lay the tomato slices in the Dutch oven, stacking them on top of each other and shingling as needed to fill the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then lay on top of the tomatoes.
  • Cover the pot and cook until the tomatoes are falling apart and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. (Reduce the heat to medium-low if the sauce begins to boil rapidly.) Top with the basil leaves and serve from the pot with rice or bread for soaking up the sauce. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 296 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 28 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 18 grams total fat (9 grams saturated), 159 milligrams cholesterol, 872 milligrams sodium.
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