Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Dec 10, 2013

Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine & Tomato

Libations used: 1 cup of red wine...
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so pour yourself a glass while that chicken is braising or serve with dinner...
Baby, it's starting to get cold outside! When it's Sunday night and it gets dark early, there's nothing I like doing more than tossing some chicken or beef in the Dutch Oven and braising away.  It usually involves pouring a little wine in the pot and drinking the rest, whilst perched in front of the telly.  This recipe for Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine and Tomato from Alex Guarnaschelli at is a lovely and very easy dish to make in those days leading up to the big Christmas dinner.  The cinnamon, ginger and cumin actually gives it that holiday-inspired spice, and it's a great dish to feed a crowd if you double the recipe.  Feel free to use any parts of the chicken.  I actually couldn't get any whole legs at the store, so just purchased a dozen thighs, as it was cheaper than purchasing both thighs and drumsticks separately.  Alex recommends serving the chicken with white or brown rice, but I opted for quinoa.  You might as well slip in some healthier whole grains if you're splurging on seasonal treats!

Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine & Tomato - serves 6
  • 3 Tbs canola or olive oil
  • 6 whole chicken legs, split into drumsticks and thighs with skin and fat removed
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (feel free to use ground cumin if you don't have)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger 
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry red wine (I used Bogle's Petite Syrah)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • One 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
- Season the chicken with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- In a large and deep skillet or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, add the 2 Tbs of the oil.
- When the oil is shimmering, add half of the chicken to the skillet and brown each side (about 3 minutes per side).
- Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and add the rest of the chicken to the skillet.
- Pour any fat and juices from the plate into the skillet.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of the oil and add the cumin seeds or powder and stir for about 10 seconds.
- Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, crushed red pepper and bay leaves and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is golden.
- Add the wine and simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and tomatoes with their juices and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken and any juices from the plate to the sauce and simmer over low heat for about 50 minutes, rotating the chicken a few times, until it's thoroughly cooked through.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and season with any additional salt and pepper.
- Serve over a whole grain, such as quinoa, couscous, wheat berries or farro.