If you have read any of my previous posts you already know that I’m a cook who uses everything. Little gets thrown out of my refrigerator. Leftovers, nubs of cheese, a lone carrot are not just leftovers to me, they are the burgeoning possibilities of creative cooking. My sister calls me the “Leftovers Queen” ~ not exactly a compliment, but I choose to take it as one.
So … last week I made boat load of Pico de Gallo from the glorious tomatoes I’ve been plucking fresh from the vines by the California cottage I’m staying at this summer, and posted the recipe on July 23rd. By the weekend, as delicious as it is, I’d had my fill of this salsa fresca and started to imagine how I could use the last cup or two in a unique way … chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno and cilantro … Hello? Sounds like sofrito to me!
Sofrito is a Spanish/Latin tomato sauce made with these very ingredients (less the cilantro, but I love cilantro so a “cilantro sofrito” it will be) but my version is unconstructed and, as usual, only inspired by the real thing. Here’s what I came up with and it’s quite delicious, if I say so myself.
4 chicken thighs (or whatever part you choose, skin on or off)
Garlic & onion powders
Salt & pepper
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
4 – 6 mushrooms (white or baby bella), sliced
1 – 2 cups Pico de Gallo
1/3 cup white wine
Season skin-side of thighs liberally with garlic and onion powders; dust with smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
Bring oil and butter to medium heat in a frying pan, add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and season the exposed sides of the thighs, as above. Cook until skin is nicely browned and a bit crispy.
Turn the chicken over and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms soften slightly. Reduce heat to medium low and add Pico de Gallo and wine. Cook for about 5 minutes, then cover pan, reduce heat to low and braise for 20 minutes.
If you want to reduce the sauce, uncover the pan, turn the heat up a little and stir occasionally until the sauce thickens to your liking.
Serve with oven roasted potatoes, shoestring fries or your favorite vegetable.
Braising is one of my favorite ways to prepare meat and I found the Pico de Gallo to be such a flavorful way to do it! Plus, I’ve taken to using smoked paprika with chicken quite often, but if the flavor is too rustic for your taste, chipotle powder could be a great option. Or … use neither, just bump up the garlic and onion seasonings instead!
Using Pico de Gallo is this way was a fun and delicious discovery for me. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Eat well. Be happy.