3lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
salt and pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, minced
2 garlic gloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives, drained and chopped
2 cups yellow corn meal
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
salt and pepper
1. Brown Chicken Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of chicken until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and discard skin. Repeat with additional 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken.
2. Braise Chicken Stir broth into pot, scraping up any browned bits. Add browned chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until chicken is fork tender, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken to plate. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces, set aside. Strain broth, reserving 1 1/2 cups for sauce. (Save any remaining broth for another use.)
3. Cook Vegetables Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Cook onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bacon fat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, corn, olives, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining oil and bring to a boil.
4. Make Base Whisk cornmeal, milk and eggs in medium bowl until smooth. Slowly pour cornmeal mixture into pot, stirring constantly to prevent clumping, and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in reserved bacon.
5. Assemble and Bake Carefully pour half (about 4 cups) of cornmeal mixture into large bowl and reserve. Smooth surface of remaining cornmeal mixture in pot, then top with shredded chicken. Pour reserved cornmeal mixture evenly over chicken and smooth surface. Arrange pot inside large roasting pan. Place roasting pan on oven rack and carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach one-third of way up sides of Dutch oven. Bake until cornmeal mixture is firm, dry and lightly browned, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Carefully remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
6. Make Sauce While pie cools, toast flour in dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring continually, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce and reserved chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table.
Cook's Country October/November 2009