Recipe of the Month – June – Frankie Avalon’s Chicken Thighs with Peas, Sweet Vermouth, and Sherry

My chum Peter Fuller, curator of the Vincent Price Legacy UK site tipped me off to the fact that Frankie Avalon had written a cookbook, and what an excellent cookbook it is!  I really like it.

Packed with lots of super appealing recipes, this is the one that really appealed to me big time.  Why?  Two types of booze!

Frankie Avalon’s Chicken Thighs with Peas, Sweet Vermouth, and Sherry

8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus  more as needed

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry sherry

1/2 cup sweet vermouth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1 cup thawed frozen peas

Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C / gas mark 4.

Season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Working in batches without crowding, add the chicken, skin side down, to the frying pan and cook until the underside is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Flip the chicken over and brown the other side of the chicken, about 2 minutes more.  Transfer the chicken to the baking dish.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the frying pan.  Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the sherry and vermouth and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits in the frying pan with a wooden spoon.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.

Bake until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced at the bone with the tip of a small, sharp knife, about 45 minutes.  Remove the baking dish from the oven.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the cornstarch.  Stir the cornstarch mixture into the cooking juices in the baking dish, and scatter the peas on top of the chicken.  Return to the oven and bake until the sauce is simmering and thickened and the peas are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with additional salt and pepper as needed, and serve.

I made this on an early spring day in London.  This is definitely a better recipe for the book I am working on with Peter than Frankie’s Spaghetti Sauce.   I think he honed his cooking skills over time…

I had some potatoes I wanted to use up and rather than giving myself extra washing up by boiling them or steaming them I just halved them and bunged them in the baking tray.  Sometimes I impress myself.

Alongside the chicken I had Frankie’s Tomato, Cucumber, and Basil Salad – you’ll find the recipe for that here.  The meal was DELICIOUS!  Thanks Frankie!  Going to delve into your book again soon.

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