Winter weather brings out what I call my Braising Instinct. I drift towards meals that call on the basic formula of all braised dishes: hot sear, slow simmer, a final dish that's lusciously saucy. I've braised pork, lamb, short ribs, cabbage, eggplant, and so many others — but, in this recipe, chicken finally gets the star treatment.
Chicken thighs make a quicker braise than most. Just an hour will give you a saucy dish of shredded chicken in a smoky bacon sauce. But the bacon isn't the secret ingredient. There's one more essential thing in this chicken braise, and it's the reason why I've made this three times in the past months.