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!
Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs with Apples and Onions
- 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.