Chicken thighs kind of make me sad. Whole legs, I love; they’re big, and classically proportioned, and can be arranged all artfully akimbo on a plate, but thighs by themselves just sort of shrink into unappealing little lumps that are very hard to make beautiful without shredding all of the meat off to make something entirely other. And that has often been a problem, since the closest store only carries (organic, semi-local) thighs. Until now. Today I figured out that if I just treat them like wings, they work just fine; subsumed in sauce they become part of a whole, rather than the featured protein. So this evening, presented with two frozen four-packs of said thighs, I attempted to combine my parallel desires for hot wings and escabeche into one low monthly payment.
To begin, I rolled the thighs in seasoned flour. Not doing this means that the skin pretty much entirely gets stuck to the pan (we are a Teflon™-free household) and further ruins what little aesthetic charm the meat possesses to begin with. I added salt, pepper, herbs, cumin, and smoked paprika to the flour. After they were a goodly brown all over, I added a head’s worth of cauliflower florets to brown as well, and a bit more flour to roux-ify the oil in the skillet. Then I poured in a mixture of tomato paste, sherry, pork stock, balsamic, sherry, and cider vinegars along with a handful of minced garlic and herbs, covered the pan, and let it all simmer low for a while.