Braised chicken with cinnamon takes its hue from saffon and can be made ahead of time for the best flavor. Perfect for entertaining. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, couscous, or polenta.
Chicken Braised with Cinnamon
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 2 H
- Serves 4
Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the oil and let it warm until it’s shimmery and beginning to thin and flow. Add the chicken, skin side down, working in batches if needed so as not to crowd the chicken. Cook until browned on all sides. Transfer the browned pieces to a plate.
Spoon off all but a very thin film of fat and oil. Add the onions to the pot and cook over low heat until softened and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the spices and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Add the sherry, saffron, water, and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot, cover tightly, and let cook slowly over the lowest possible heat, turning the chicken once, until it’s cooked through, about 45 minutes.
Place the chicken on a platter and pour the excess fat into a defatting pitcher or scoop it off with a spoon. You should have about 1 1/4 cups liquid.
About 20 minutes before serving time, in a small pan, heat the vodka to just below boiling. Take it off the heat and add the lavender buds. Let steep for 15 minutes.
Strain and discard the flowers and add the vodka to the defatted pan juices. Return to medium heat long enough to cook off the alcohol, 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour the lavender-enhanced pan juices over the chicken and gently heat until warmed through. Pour the honey over the top, add the toasted almonds, and serve. Originally published May 3, 2002.
Recipe Testers' Tips
This recipe’s long list of small amounts of ingredients had me wondering if they were all necessary and worth the bother (though only the lavender buds took any effort to track down). The resulting aromas and complex flavors of the dish convinced me that I wouldn’t have wanted to leave out a thing. I was unable, however, to verify the headnote’s contention that the dish improves over time because there was not a morsel left over. This is definitely going on my short list of potluck dinner dishes.
The divine medley of tastes from this dish is still sumptuously smacking on my palate. Tender chicken that succulently falls from the bone, boldly flavored with a unique spice blend and enlivened by the sweet toasty crunch of the honey and almonds, it brings to the table a very surreal and ultra-satisfying dining experience.
I served this for a small dinner party with a spinach and dried cherry salad, crunchy baguette with an herbed compound butter and a toasted-almond banana ice cream. My appreciative sated guests swooned. This dish is undoubtedly in the top ranks of my frequently made recipe list.