Sunday, August 5, 2012

red wine-braised chicken thighs with caramelized onions and thyme

Apparently I'm on a caramelized onion and thyme streak. First there was the addition of brie...and now a little soak in red wine. Normally I maintain that (cooking) variety is the spice of life. But when a dish turns out the way this one did, a little ingredients repeat is most definitely not a bad thing.

While this dish does take a bit of time to come together, most of the time is fairly low-maintenance. Caramelized onions = a quick stir every few minutes. Pan searing the meat = a simple browning of each side. Braising = rotate the meat every now and then. See? Piece of cake. And sooo worth the effort.

P.S. Accompanying Parmesan risotto recipe to come in the near future...oh how I love risotto.

Red Wine-Braised Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Onions and Thyme
Yield: 6-8 servings

8 chicken thighs, trimmed of skin and excess fat
extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, halved and cut 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh thyme + several loose sprigs
2 cups dry red wine, divided

In a large bowl, prepare a brining solution by mixing 1/4 cup of salt in 1 1/2 quarts cold water until dissolved. Add the chicken thighs and allow to soak for 30-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil and butter in a large dutch oven over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the onions, 1/2 tsp salt, sugar, and 1 tsp thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the onions to a separate bowl and return the dutch oven to the stove top, off of the heat until the chicken is ready to brown.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the chicken from the brine solution and rinse in fresh water. Pat dry. Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the dutch oven and return it to medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, carefully add the chicken thighs bone-side up, working in batches so as not to over-crowd the pan. Allow the meat to brown, undisturbed, until it releases from the bottom of the pan and can be easily moved without pulling/tearing, 3-4 minutes. Flip the meat over and repeat, adding additional teaspoons of oil as needed. Transfer browned thighs to a clean plate until all of the meat has been seared. Once finished, carefully pour one cup of wine into the empty pot, quickly scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen all of the browned bits. Return the thighs to the pot as well as any accumulated juices. Add the second cup of wine, caramelized onions, and loose thyme sprigs. Reposition the thighs until they are maximally submerged in the wine. Cover the dutch oven with a tight fitting lid and put in the oven.

Braise for 30-40 minutes, repositioning the thighs once or twice to ensure even cooking.

An Ashleigh original :)


  1. Yumm!! Making this tonight with your Risotto!

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