Braising is a cooking technique that uses moist heat in a covered pot with cooking liquid. You will often see a recipe calling for you to ‘‘deglaze the pan and scrape up all the browned bits.’’ Don’t skip this important step. The bits contain a lot of flavor that you want to incorporate into the sauce.
Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Apples
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) total
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) apple cider
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
In a heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches as needed to avoid crowding, add the chicken to the hot pan, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Do not wipe the pan clean and keep it over medium-high heat.
Add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring once or twice, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook just until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the apple cider, broth and vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, and nestle it in the sauce. Cover and simmer
until the chicken is opaque throughout (no pink should show when you cut in next to a bone, and the chicken juices should run clear), 25 to 30 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil. Raise the heat to high and cook the sauce until nicely thickened, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 Tbs. of the butter and stir until
melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat.
In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. butter. When the butter is melted and slightly browned, add the apples and sauté until golden brown, flipping them as you stir to cook on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes.
To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken and mound the apples on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
For more fresh ideas about how to prepare chicken, whether for a
quick family meal or an impressive weekend spread, check out our
Chicken Night: Dinner Solutions for Every Day of the Week.