Photo: Cary Norton; Styling: Lindsey Lower
At Cooking Light we sometimes remove the skin from rich chicken thighs to reduce the saturated fat, but I realized last February that I could roast that very same skin till it's crisp, rendering out much of the fat and capturing lots of chickeny goodness for a wintry braised main dish. The gremolata idea came from my love of flat-leaf parsley: I never use the regular stuff anymore. Start checking the skins after 30 minutes in 5-minute intervals; they can quickly go from perfectly crisp to burned.
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 thigh, about 1/4 cup sauce, and about 3 tablespoons gremolata)
1. Pour 1 cup boiling water over dried cherries in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Remove skin from chicken. Place the skin flat on a parchment-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes, making sure skin gets brown and thoroughly crisp but not burned. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with dash of salt and dash of pepper. Finely chop; set aside.
4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan, meaty side down; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and sliced garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until reduced by half. Return chicken to pan; add cherries, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stock, thyme, and vinegar. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Increase heat to medium-high; cook sauce 2 minutes or until slightly thickened (about 1 cup).
5. Combine skin, rind, parsley, and minced garlic in a small bowl. Serve chicken with sauce; top with gremolata.