I think there is a happy meeting place between delicious recipes and easy, quick preparation for busy nights or frankly when you aren’t in the mood to slave in the kitchen. Braising is a wonderful way to harvest the flavors of some select ingredients with a bit of sautéing and cooking in the oven to produce savory, succulent cuts of meat brimming with great flavors. The other advantage of braising is the process produces a sauce and even a side dish depending on what is cooked with the protein, cutting the effort down even further.
If you haven’t done braising it’s a simple one pot method of sautéing meat and usually some vegetables or aromatics, then combining with liquids and bake in the oven. Generally the recipes don’t require loads of ingredients; braising relies on distinct flavors to create a memorable dish. A favorite braising recipe I shared earlier this year was Vermouth-Braised Lemon Chicken Legs. It includes fingerling potatoes so the entire meal is almost done when the pan comes out of the oven.
I love cooking with seasonal ingredients and the varieties of apples popping up is really exciting! A favorite of mine are Honeycrisp apples and I love making fresh applesauce or slow cooker apple butter with them to eat with everything. Apples traditionally are paired with pork however I wanted to cook them with my favorite piece of chicken: the thigh. The thigh is the most flavorful meat (along with the drumstick) and being dark meat it also is a juicier piece of the chicken.
Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs with Apples and Onions. This simple fall-inspired recipes combines chicken thighs, yellow onion, fresh apple slices with spiced apple cider, apple brandy, broth and stoneground mustard for a luscious, flavorful recipe. Served with a side grain and the pan sauce will remind you why fall is a favorite season of all who enjoy cooking!
This simple, rustic fall dish is easy to prepare and sings with apple flavors. Braising keeps the chicken thigh moist and tender and produces a savory broth to serve with the cooked onion and apples. Ready, start to finish, in a bit over an hour.
- 8 Chicken Thighs (bone in, skin on), rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 large Yellow Onion, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4 –inch slices
- 4 Garlic Cloves, diced
- ½ cup Apple Brandy
- ½ cup Spiced Apple Cider (regular apple cider may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 tablespoon Stoneground Mustard
- 1/3 cup Heavy Whipped Cream
- 1 ½ pounds Apples, peeled, cored and rough chopped into large pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs.
- In a 3 ½ quart braiser or large heavy skillet with lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it is shimmering, place the chicken thighs skin-side (top) down into the skillet. Flip over after 5 minutes using a spatula to gently release any skin that might be sticking to the pan.
- Cook for more 5 minutes and remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Drain all the fat from the pan except 1 tablespoon. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion slices and garlic. Sauté until onions are limp; approximately 5 minutes.
- Raise heat back to medium-high and add the apple brandy, apple cider and chicken stock (be careful of any hot splattering of the liquid). Scrape the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula to release any pan drippings into the liquid. Boil for 1 minute.
- Add the mustard and heavy cream; stir to fully combine. Add the apples. Return the chicken thighs to the pan, cover and place into the preheated oven.
- Cook for 35 minutes. The final temperature should register 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- Serve the chicken thighs on a bed of the onions and apples, drizzled in some of the pan sauce.