Inexpensive chicken thighs are given the royal treatment in this recipe. Champagne and a ton of garlic are used to braise crispy-skinned thighs until they’re tender, juicy and fit for a king.
It’s snowing. Which is cool but I’m wondering if the forecasters called this one correctly. It was supposed to snow overnight and then start again around noon. At least that’s the last I heard and that was last night around 11:00. Now I’m watching Peter Rabbit and forced to check the updates on my phone. I know a lot of you affected by this storm decided to sleep in today. Smart people. And then the others didn’t have a choice but to go to work….possibly with the plan to leave around noon? I hope? Since it’s already snowing where I am and noon is a long, long time from now. And it’s still safe enough to drive to the store so why not go grab some chicken thighs. You’ll want them for dinner tonight. Trust me.
I love chicken thighs because they’re so flavorful. They stay tender and juicy when you accidentally decide to forget about them on the grill. They may be a little charred but you can peel that stuff off and just enjoy what’s inside. They’re the most forgiving part of the chicken in my opinion. And they’re cheap. And with grocery prices as high as they are lately…cheap, tasty food is where it’s at.
Champagne and Garlic Braised Chicken Thighs sound fancy and expensive but they’re made on a pretty frugal budget. You can get a bottle of champagne these days for under $10 and if can’t find one under $10 but still want to make this on the cheap you can use sparkling wine. Or Prosecco…and I know for a fact you can find both of them under $10. AND a bonus here, you won’t use the whole bottle so you can either A) use the remainder in another recipe like Slow Cooker Split Pea with Ham Soup of B) drink the rest. I vote for B, but that Split Pea with Ham Soup is pretty spectacular…it’s a tough call.
So you go to the grocery store and get your chicken…drive home slowly and carefully…unless you live in Florida. Floridians, I hate you right now. (Not really but….really.) And start dinner, it will be ready in about an hour. Champagne and Garlic Braised Chicken Thighs are great when served with sautéed green beans and something to soak up some of that sauce, like rice or quinoa or couscous. I like to save my sides for last and mix them up with the remainder of the juices left on the plate. It’s awesomely comforting and perfect for a cold, snowy day. Stay safe my friends.
Champagne and Garlic Braised Chicken Thighs
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Slow Cooking.
- 3-4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin-on
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 heads garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
- 3/4 cup champagne or other white wine
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 4 sprigs of thyme plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and add to the pot skin side down. (You may need to work in batches.) Cook the chicken until the skin is crispy and golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes and then flip to the other side. Continue cooking until crispy. Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
- Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat and add the garlic cloves. Saute until they are golden brown and then pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Scrap the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to release the brown bits. Stir in the dijon mustard and then return the chicken to the pan. Top with the sprigs of thyme. Cover and cook over med-low heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the pan juices. Press on the garlic with a spoon or spatula to squeeze out the liquid and pulp. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and add the stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Uncover the chicken and top with the sauce. Serve immediately.