Easy Chicken with Gravy
It’s a busy time of year. Some of us are shopping for gifts, some are working long hours selling those gifts, some are knitting madly in an effort to finish all the sweaters and socks, some are baking our fifth batch of cookies, some are grating potatoes yet again for latkes, some are rehearsing for the concert or the service – and we all still need to eat real meals.
This chicken with gravy is not the fastest thing you can do with chicken – but it is one of the easiest… It can simmer away on the back burner while you watch a holiday special with the kids, or make the latkes (which must be eaten fresh out of the pan!) or finally sit yourself down with your feet up. And, while I only made enough for the two of us to have one meal, it reheats very well. Double or triple it for a larger family, of course, but also if you want leftovers in a day or so, or for lunch.
I chopped a small onion. Heated a frying pan, and then added a little oil. (I often say “heat oil in a pan” – but really – heat the pan first, and then add the oil to the hot pan. You have much less chance of sticking, while actually using less oil.) I put the onion in the pan, stirred it around a bit, and as soon as it was soft, added two chicken legs (thigh and drumstick – no back) skin side down. I gave it about five minutes to brown the chicken (while much of the fat cooks out) and then turned it over, for another couple of minutes, to brown the bottom. The onion continued to cook while the chicken browned.
Then I added about three quarters of a cup of water. Now, these were small chicken legs – I might need a little more water for larger legs, and I certainly would for breasts… I also put in half a teaspoon each of dried thyme and sage. Since I used dried herbs, I rubbed them in my hand to crush them, which helps release the oils, and sprinkled them in. I also added a pinch of salt. Then I brought the water to a simmer, lowered the light to keep it simmering, and covered the pan.
I let this simmer 15 minutes, turned the chicken over, and gave it another 15 minutes. Again, the size of your chicken parts determines the time – you need to cook until the internal temperature is 165° with an instant read thermometer. A classic way to check is to look for redness, or pierce the meat and see if the juices run clear – but it’s not always reliable… I’ve had meat that was red at the bone and looked badly underdone but was, in fact, completely cooked.
At that point, I removed the meat from the pan. Now – the liquid in the pan is now a light chicken broth… You can, if you want it more flavorful, use broth instead of water in the first place, but I’ve had good results with the water, as long as I add some seasoning and don’t drown the bird… which is the reason it is not, in fact, covered in water.
Often, really, I then just spoon the broth over my grain or potatoes. That’s usually enough for us. Sometimes I’ll boil it a few minutes to reduce and concentrate it. This time, I decided that I wanted a gravy, so I brought it to a boil, and stirred in a roux cube. I just kept stirring until the cube had dissolved and the gravy thickened, and then served the herbed chicken gravy over the meat and the rice.
A nice warm, homey meal on a cold, hectic day…
Easy Chicken with Gravy
- Oil for pan
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 chicken legs
- 1/2 t dried thyme
- 1/2 t dried sage
- pinch salt
- 1 [roux cube|https://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/2014/05/magic-roux-cubes/}
- Heat oil in pan. Stir in onion, cook just enough to soften.
- Add chicken, skin side down. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until the chicken is brown and the onions are starting to turn golden. Turn chicken over, and stir onions. Cook another 3-5 minutes, to brown that side.
- Add 3/4 cup of water (more if needed, to cover the pan and come up around the edges of the meat.) Add the herbs, crushed, and the salt. Bring to a simmer, and cover the pan.
- Simmer 15 minutes. Turn the meat over, simmer another 15 minutes or until the meat is done.
- Remove the chicken from the pan. Bring the broth in the pan to a boil. Add the roux cube, and stir until it is dissolved and the gravy is thickened. Serve.