Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Belleau Kitchen

Chicken Thighs and Leeks Hot
Chicken Thighs with Leeks


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor
My tutor today is Dom - a London boy now living in the country - and his rustic and relaxed Belleau Kitchen blog. Dom doesn't just post recipes (although his blog is crammed with many) and he doesn't just snap artfully staged photos (although you will frequently catch yourself drooling) - Dom celebrates real food and real flavors with minimal fuss. Every time I read through one of Dom's recipes, I am shocked at how he manages to take a few rustic ingredients, a handful of simple instructions and arrive at a beautiful flavor-packed ending.

But Belleau Kitchen isn't just about Belleau Kitchen. Dom generously goes out of his way to create an empowering and welcoming haven for foodies and food-dabblers of any skill-level. In fact, in the spirit of encouraging folks to discover new recipes, Dom hosts the monthly Random Recipes food challenge. If you've never participated in Random Recipes, you're missing out on not only discovering new recipes and cookbooks, but also the thriving community of participating foodies. Do yourself a favor - drop by Belleau Kitchen and say hi to Dom.

About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "I was born in London and moved to the Lincolnshire countryside 10 years ago and couldn't imagine life without Belleau"
     
  2. "I used to DJ in nightclubs in London in the 90's"
     
  3. "I studied fashion design at university but really wasn't all that good!"
     
  4. "I will pretty much eat - or at least try - anything (as long as it's not endangered), but I can't stomach custard!"
     
  5. "Even though I love my new kitchen, I have lost my magic 'photo place' where the light was just perfect… It's been hard trying to find a new one!"
Author's Photo

There are two reasons I selected these specific chicken thighs from Dom's extensive collection of mouth-watering chicken thigh recipes. In case you hadn't noticed, I spent much of last week traveling and I knew that I would need something comforting and fast when I arrived home - so I immediately thought of Dom. This recipe is the perfect homecoming Sunday supper - it took me less than 10 minutes to prep everything and while the chicken thighs roasted, I had plenty of time to unpack and unwind before dinner.

But it wasn't just convenience that sold me - I've been itching to try one of Dom's chicken thigh recipes ever since he posted his Moroccan Chicken Thighs. And since I love leeks (and haven't used them in months), this recipe was a no-brainer. Did I mention it's fast? =)

Original recipe courtesy of Belleau Kitchen

Corning Ware French White Roasting Pan
I used my medium-sized French White Corning Ware Pyroceram roaster for this recipe
I feel this baking dish was a little too small for the job, so next time I plan to use my largest
Corning Ware roaster so that everything can spread out a bit more
This recipe is so fast, you should start by preheating your oven right now!

Garlic Cloves
Next comes the garlic - you don't even have to peel it

Smashed Garlic Cloves
However, I did smash my cloves as I wanted more of the garlic flavor to be absorbed by
the chicken. If you're not a garlic fan, don't smash the cloves

Four Leeks
Next comes the most time-consuming part of this dish - cleaning the leeks.
But it's actually a pretty fast job

Leeks Trimmed and Halved
Just cut off the dark green tops of the leeks

Leeks Washed Clean
Then rinse the leeks thoroughly - make sure to get between each layer of the leek.
Mine were actually pretty clean and above are the final rinsed leeks

Chopping Leeks
Chunk the leeks - you want big, rustic pieces of leek so that the leek doesn't dissolve
during the long roasting time

Leeks Added to Roasting Pan
Chuck the chunked leek in with the garlic - next comes the chicken thighs

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
Dom's recipe calls for 6 chicken thighs - he doesn't specify if the thighs should be boneless
or skinless, so I chose to use boneless skinless for a slightly healthier meal (and it's easier to eat)
You can also see I used 7 chicken thighs because mine were a bit on the small side

Rinsing Chicken Thighs
I rinsed my chicken before added to the dish

Chicken Thighs Added to Roasting Pan
Just nestle the chicken thighs between the chunks of leek and garlic cloves

Chicken Seasoned with Salt and Pepper
I seasoned everything with some cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Dom doesn't instruct
one to do this in his recipe, but I'm a pepper fan and I feel chicken always requires salt

Sprigs and Leaves of Thyme
For the thyme, Dom didn't specify an exact amount because this is a rustic dish, so I used
about 5 springs of thyme and about 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves pulled off the stems

Thyme Sprinkled Over Chicken
I nestled the thyme springs in between the chicken thighs and sprinkled everything with thyme
and a drizzle (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons) of olive oil

A Cup of White Wine
Dom's recipe calls for a glass of white wine. I had a bottle of Pinot Grigio hanging around,
so I used 1 cup's worth. Next time I make the recipe, I plan to cut the wine to 1/2 cup as
there are a lot of juices released by the chicken and thus a bit too much liquid for my taste

Wine Poured over Chicken
Just pour the wine over everything - and that's it!

Chicken and Leeks Ready for Roasting
Chicken thighs with leeks is ready to roast. That took less time to prep than to explain =)

Chicken Thighs after 1st Turn
You will want to roast everything for about 1 hour and 35 minutes at 325 degrees, then finish
by roasting at 375 degrees for the last 10 minutes to brown the chicken slightly and crisp
the leeks. I turned the chicken half-way through the first part of the roasting and above
is a photo right after turning the meat the first time. 

Chicken Thighs and Leeks Served
Turn the meat back over before roasting at 375 for the final 10 minutes and you will
arrive at the delicious result in the photo above. Fast. Easy. Rustic. And so comforting.

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • The chicken is super-tender and mildly flavored with thyme and white wine. The leeks are both soft and crispy, with some of the exposed edges turning a delicious brown during the last 10 minutes of roasting. When paired with the chicken, the crispy bits of leek were my favorite part of this dish
     
  • Did you know roasted crispy leeks take on an almost cheesy flavor? I didn't. And since you know how much I love cheese, imagine my happy surprise when I discovered this secret. I went picking through all the chicken looking for these crispy bits of leek and savoring each piece
     
  • Because of my new-found love for crispy leeks, when I make this recipe again I plan to only use 1/2 cup of wine and roast everything in a larger dish. This should allow more of the liquid to evaporate during cooking and ensure more of the leeks turn crispy instead of remaining submerged in the cooking juices
     
  • I recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs - they were still incredibly moist after 1 1/2 hours of roasting and they're so much easier to eat when you're starving after a long road trip! In fact, the thighs were so easy to eat, my boyfriend and I polished off most of the chicken in just one meal (and I finished ALL of the crispy bits of leek!)

Other Must-Try Recipes from Belleau Kitchen
Maybe chicken thighs or leeks aren't your thing. But I guarantee you'll find something delicious from Belleau Kitchen. Check out these mouth-watering eats and tell me you're not inspired!

Veggie Birthday Pie
Purple Gooseberry & Elderflower Crumble Ice-cream
A Very Large Birthday Cake
Veggie Beetburger
Billionaires Shortbread


36 comments:

  1. Followed Dom's link to find your blog, nice post, will add to my RSS feed. Dom's thighs always make me a bit wobbly, to be honest! ;-)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and Dom's thighs (at least the chicken variety!) are awesome and I'm so glad I was finally able to try them...

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    2. my regular thighs are pretty awesome too x

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  2. wow... it looks amazing!... i love the way you've done the tutorial here, it makes it look very proper and I realise that I don't do much in the way of 'add salt and pepper' etc, even though i always do... I usually cook my chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on as I love that crispy skin but either way works... and isn't it amazing how lovely and juicy the thighs stay when cooked this way?... fab stuff, lovely write up... i'm truly humbled, thank you x

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed and it was my great pleasure, Dom. Looking at your picture on your blog I kind of suspected you used the bone-in variety of chicken thighs. But I really hate fussing with the bones afterwards, so I took the easy route and was so happy the chicken didn't dry out...

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  3. That looks fantastic! I will be cooking this very soon. Chicken thighs are my favourite and Dom is the master of chicken thigh recipes :)

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    1. Given the success of this recipe, I predict future chicken thigh recipes from Dom in my future ;) I'm so glad you enjoyed and I do hope you give them a try...

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  4. I have been lusting after Dom's chicken thighs for a while now and this is a SUPER post, so well written and photographed too......GREAT tutorial from a great cook!
    Karen @ Lavender and Lovage

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    1. Aww, thank you Karen - you're so kind. I'm just happy Dom let me feature his thighs cause I'd been itching to attempt them for quite a while...

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  5. OMG that looks delicious. Can I tell you how amazing you are by the way? You are so great at supporting other bloggers and I just want you to know you are super appreciated :)

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    1. ::blushes:: Thanks and I'm humbled. I appreciate the appreciation and I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. It was delicious, by the way - and super easy...

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  6. You did make a good choice here, looks like Dom does have some talent for the healthy as well as indulgent. I do not have a lot of recipes that use leeks and I am glad to add this one to my file. Roasted is a great way to go when it comes to veggies as well as chicken,so the pairing really works well-yum!

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    1. I agree, Tina - I think I now roast more than any other form of cooking ;) I seem to always gravitate towards roasting because it can be pretty lean and just so flavorful. I hope you get a chance to try Dom's recipe...

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  7. You did a beautiful job with that recipe, JW! I know I'd love it because I love everything that goes into it. Aren't leeks wonderful?!

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    1. They are - I think they're my favorite of the onion family. Such a delicate flavor and unique texture...

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  8. Another great feature! Off to visit Dom :)

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    1. Thanks Lizzy - and I'm so glad you're visiting Dom. He's got an inspired blog...

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  9. That sounds very similar to a great Thomas Keller recipe which is way more work than that! I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time I'm craving it but don't want to do all the work!

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    1. Jen, I'm so glad you dropped by and it really is a simple recipe. I was so pleased to have dinner ready in under 2 hours ;)

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  10. Wow, I'm loving all the flavors in this dish! This looks like the perfect meal to make when you have to cook for a big crowd. Btw, I have the same casserole dish :)

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    1. I'm sure it would be great for a crowd and I'm sure it would double nicely if necessary. And I love my French White Corning Ware pieces - the Pyroceram is the best...

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  11. what a fantastic dish! At first I was thinking that the leek pieces were really huge, but then I saw that you braised them for quite a long time in that wonderful wine and herbs! I do bet your home smelled wonderful while this was baking. Great choice of recipes and great success in executing it!!!

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    1. Thanks MJ and I'm so glad you enjoyed. The leeks really do break down a bit and the chunky size is perfect by the time the roasting is finished... And yes, it did smell terrific while roasting =)

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  12. wow...looks amazingly tasty..great job..:)

    Tasty Appetite

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  13. Great recipe. I am not using leek much in my cooking, but this post inspired me to try it. Thanks.
    ohhh, and wanted to tell you- You doing a fantastic job by supporting other bloggers !!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Inessa - and I'm glad Dom's recipe has inspired you!

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  14. oh delicious! A great family meal!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and you're right, it really would be...

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  15. Very patiently,I read it,from the beginning to the end!Very nice tutorial Mark,the introduction,pictures and their descriptions,your review - wonderfully organized!
    As I say,you are perfection!;-) Love your blog,and all posts you do!:-)

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    1. Awww, thank you Fahad for the kind words - I'm so glad you enjoyed. And perfection is a bit of a far cry from my blog ;)

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  16. This looks perfect for a nice weeknight dinner that would still taste great the next night too! :)

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    1. It did last well in the fridge - in fact, as the leeks hung about for a day or so, they absorbed even more of the wine and chicken juices, so even better second day I thought...

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  17. Skipping this one as I'm vegetarian, but love your concept of Tuesday Tutor.

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    1. Thanks Choclette - so glad you dropped by!

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