Apple Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs

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I was flipping through an old issue ofFood + Winethis weekend, when this unassuming recipe for chicken thighs braised in apple cider vinegar caught my eye. There was no picture and very little by way of a description, but for some reason I felt compelled to make it. Despite a brief moment of fear when I thought I might end up with something resembling pickled chicken, I immediately added the ingredients to my grocery list and prepared it for dinner that same night.

Within ten minutes of being put into the oven, this chicken filled the entire house with the most amazing smells and made our stomachs grumble. It doesn’t look like much in the pot, but this is hands-down the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Shawn agreed.

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Although the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender from braising, a few minutes under the broiler crisps the skin right back up — a trick I’ll definitely use again in the future. The cider vinegar permeates the chicken with its sweetness and gives the sauce a subtle tang that goes perfectly with sides of wild rice and steamed collard greens — go ahead and make extra sides, because you’ll want something to help sop up every last morsel of sauce.

(We’re hooked on wild rice right now but brown rice, mashed potatoes or couscous would also make great starchy sides for this meal. Also, while any green vegetable would work, the combination of collard greens and cider vinegar is a classic.)

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Apple Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken

Prep time: 10 min; Total time: 1 hour 15 min
Yield: 2 servings

  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Carrots, sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Leek, sliced
  • 1 Tbs Flour
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbs Butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy, oven safe pot over medium-high heat (an enamel Dutch oven works best). Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and add them to the pot, skin-side down. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the skin turns a rich, golden color and begins to crisp. Remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Pour out all but 1 Tbs of the oil/fat that has cooked off.

Add the carrots, garlic, and leek to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the flour and cook for one minute. Deglaze the pot with the vinegar, scraping up any browned chicken that is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pot, skin-side up.

Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Allow the chicken to braise for 50 minutes.

Heat the broiler. Remove the chicken for the pot and place on a broiler pan or heavy baking sheet. Broil for 5-6 minutes, until the skin crisps back up. Meanwhile, Place the pot back on the stove and allow it to reduce over medium heat. Stir in the butter.

To serve, spoon the sauce over the chicken thighs.

Comments

  1. That sounds amazing! Wish I saw this when had excess cider.

  2. This looks delish! I’ll be making it tomorrow for dinner! I have made a few of your recipes and they have all been great. I love that you use REAL ingredients. So many healthy recipes have fake butter or sugar or salt or whatever else. I like to cook with food that I know where it came from and I am so thankful that you make healthy, delicious and real recipes!!

  3. i am a sucker for a good chicken recipe.
    Though, my broiler sucks ass- i would probably have to skip that last part :-(
    but looks great! i lov F&W!

  4. i saw this in food & wine! glad it was a hit–can’t wait to try!

  5. The best chicken you’ve ever eaten, eh? Well that means I absolutely MUST give it a try!

    • I swear I’m not exaggerating, either. Granted I’m not the world’s biggest chicken fan, but this was incredible.

  6. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe after reading it in F&W, and I’m glad you pared it down to a 2-person serving! Trying this tonight, can’t wait!

  7. Thanks for this recipe. Sounds yummy! Could you leave this on the stovetop to braise, or do you have to put it in the oven?

    • You could probably do it on the stovetop, but the oven heats more evenly. If you leave it on the stove, I’d keep it over low heat and check frequently to make sure that the bottom isn’t burning and not too much liquid is cooking off.

  8. i was excited about this, but you used the word pot too many times, I’m slow and confused! :) Are there 2 pots? You say to use the vinegar to deglaze the pot, do we take the carrot mix out first? And, will chicken breasts be okay?

    • Nope, just one pot. And no need to remove the carrot mix – just pour it right over and it ill help loosen any cooked on bits that have stuck to the bottom. :)

  9. This was awesome!! I seared 1/2 my family pack of thighs so I would be certain my kiddo would eat…I’m glad he his so finicky!! I can’t wait to make this again :)

  10. We doubled the recipe and all six of us ate it and it still wasn’t enough. It was awesome. We put it over Spanish rice. Thanks. It’s a keeper.

    • Lauren Keating says:

      So glad you liked it! It’s definitely one of my favorites too – actually, I think it’s about time to make it again! :)

  11. I have a big bottle of apple cider vinegar I wanted to use up so I came across this recipe. Glad I did… It was great. Thank you for posting!

  12. Karen Terry says:

    SO, if I wanted to make this the day before I am actually serving it, would you suggest I stop after the oven braise, refrigerate and then the next day, reheat on the stove, when heated through, take the chicken out, broil, etc?

    • Lauren Keating says:

      Yup! Just reheat them in the braising liquid. There’s no really any risk of overcooking these, so you should be fine doing it that way. :)

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