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Braised Chicken with Asparagus, Peas and Melted Leeks

Braised Chicken with Asparagus, Peas and Melted Leeks
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         A braise may not strike you as a Spring preparation at all.  Aren’t braises hearty affairs that build flavor by the hours they spend in the oven?  Aren’t they winter warmers and not something you’d expect to see any time after May 1st?  Well it turns out that this dish, with its medley of fresh, Spring vegetables topped with crispy-skinned, fennel scented Chicken thighs and then lapped with the lightest of lemon-y butter-y broths, proves that a braise is great way to salute Spring.


Mindy Fox

The recipe is from Epicurious. Its author is Mindy Fox, a woman who certainly knows her way around a chicken.  In 2010 she published her first cookbook: “ A Bird in the Oven and then some” (Kyle) which mysteriously had its name changed when it was re-released as “The Perfectly Roasted Chicken” (Kyle 2013). She was a staff writer for both Saveur and the late-lamented La Cucina Italiana, which sadly folded in 2014 after 7 years of US publication.   Fox was a professional cook in Boston before pursuing her award-winning food-writing career.          

But of all her accomplishments, the one that stood out for me is her participation as a member of the Culinary Council of The Sylvia Center.  This program conducts cooking classes in public housing community centers throughout New York City.  Here, New Yorkers as young as 7 and their families, are exposed to seasonally selected fresh food and the cooking techniques needed to prepare simple, healthy meals.   From April thorough November, the program extends to Upstate

New York.  At their organic Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, in Columbia County, they host children for hands-on farm to table cooking experiences to support what they have learned in New York City. How appropriate that the farm is in Kinderhook which translated from the Dutch “Kinderhoek”, means “Children’s Corner”. To find out more about the Sylvia Center, go to www.sylviacenter.org.

This dish is one of those where you don’t have to be slave to the stove.  The prep time is minimal and involves two large skillets, one for the chicken and one for everything else. What does take a few minutes is the slow cooking time of the leeks which provide a sweet balance to the Asparagus and Peas. That same skillet is set aside for the vegetable medley, which is cooked in the last 5 minutes.  The chicken itself cooks in two stages and for the best part of a half hour.  In between steps, you’ll have time to pour yourself a glass of white wine to go with your beautiful supper. Here is Mindy Fox’s recipe:

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