Alice Waters is often knocked for being elitist, but her incredibly useful book The Art of Simple Food is about as basic as they come. It's the perfect cookbook to give any twenty-something just setting up her or his first kitchen, but experienced cooks will also find a wealth of tips and recipes.
One of my favorites is Water's easy weeknight recipe for chicken legs braised with onions, garlic, tomatoes and herbs. All summer, my go-to chicken dish is grilled boneless skinless thighs-they can be seasoned 100 different ways and make excellent leftovers tossed into a salad on a steamy night. But as the days get a little cooler, at least here in Brooklyn, I'm starting to think about gently cooked meat, succulent and falling off the bone. Thank you Alice Waters for inspiring this easy, cozy dish to contribute to the Shine Supper Club.
4 chicken legs or 8 bone-in thighs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin or diced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed, minced, or sliced thin
1 bay leaf
Herb of your choice (suggestions: sprig of rosemary or a few sprigs of thyme, tablespoon dried rosemary or thyme, herbs de Provence, fresh chopped parsley)
12-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of chicken broth
Generously salt and pepper the chicken legs. Heat the oil on medium high until shimmering. In a deep, heavy sauté pan place the chicken legs skin side down and brown for about 10 minutes. Turn and cook for 4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Discard some of the oil and fat from the pan if you want a lighter dish leaving just enough to sauté onions. Cook until soft. Add garlic and herbs (except parsley which should be added at end) and cook until fragrant, scraping up any brown bits. Add tomatoes and stir. Arrange chicken in pan and pour in accumulated juices and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook gently for about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and fresh herb sprigs. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley if using. Serve with a starch of your choice: pasta, rice, couscous or even just a crusty loaf of bread.