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Caribbean Smothered Chicken with Coconut, Lime and Chiles

YIELD: 4 servings


  • 4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 6 large sprigs thyme, plus fresh thyme leaves for serving

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 1 habanero chile, partially slit open

  • 1 cup low-fat coconut milk

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lime, plus wedges for serving


  1. Season the chicken generously all over with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, shallow Dutch oven or deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan, skin sides down. Sear for about 5 minutes, turning them over once, until browned on both sides and some of their fat has rendered. (They will not be cooked through).

  3. Push the thighs to one side of the pan, turning them skin sides up; add the thyme and onions to the other side of the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they pick up some color.

  4. Add the garlic, chile pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then pour in the coconut milk and water. The browned skin on the thighs should remain above the level of liquid. Increase the heat to medium; once the liquid begins to boil, move the onion mixture around the chicken pieces, as needed. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or. until the chicken is cooked through. Discard the thyme sprigs.

  5. Uncover and stir in the lime juice. Cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the curry powder and lime zest. Scatter some thyme leaves on top.

  6. Serve right away (with or without the chile pepper), with lime wedges.

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