Food & Wine Magazine: Feb Cover Recipe

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Golden Raisin Compote

Rating: 3 out of 5 (unexciting flavours, compote too sweet)

Initial Thoughts: As soon as I saw February’s cover I was immediately drawn into the photo, visually falling into the warm tones and rich colours that literally jump off the page. The dish itself looked like the ultimate comfort food, perfect for consumption on a cold winter night.

The Test: Because I have this inability to trust when recipes say it will serve four people that it will actually serve four people, I ended up doubling everything and making way too much food for Mr. Spock, the girls and me. Over the years this mistrust of mine has led to my poor hubby thinking me incapable of making food in ‘normal’ quantities. He may have a point.

But I digress.

Once everything had been peeled and chopped and prepped and ready to go, the compote came together easily and quickly. Because the ingredients are all thrown in a pot over medium heat and covered with the lid, the squash steams and softens faster than if it were roasted in the oven. In fact, by the time the rice was cooked everything was ready to be plated.

Sweetness was a concern for me right out of the gate. With naturally sweet ingredients like butternut squash and raisins is it really necessary to add honey as well? Deciding to trust my gut I opted to leave out the honey and hoped that the tartness from the granny smith apples would be enough to balance out the sweetness from the other ingredients.

I chose boneless/skinless chicken thighs instead of the bone-in/skin thighs called for in the recipe. Honestly, Mr. Spock and I tend to prefer the less caloric version as our previous attempts with bone-in/skin covered thighs have garnered results best described as ‘creepy’. It always takes longer to cook and we never end up eating the skin anyways. Too much guilt. Because thighs are dark meat they don’t get dry and still develop a nice crisp exterior, even without the skin.

The Results: We were all disappointed in the results of this recipe. Just as I feared, the compote was way too sweet (even without the honey) and the flavours were all expected and boring. The ingredients got lost within each other, the squash dominating everything else. The addition of other root vegetables like parsnips or even some celeriac would bring a nice edge to the compote and make it much more interesting.

On a more positive note the chicken did turn out great. But come on…when does pan seared chicken with salt and pepper not taste good?!

For a copy of the recipe for Crispy Chicken Thighs with Golden Raisin Compote, please click HERE

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magaine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to

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