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Braised Chicken Thighs – Leite's Culinaria

Braised Chicken Thighs – Leite’s Culinaria Leave a comment

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These tender braised chicken thighs are seared until golden, then gently cooked in a savory vermouth, lemon, and herbs de Provence sauce. The chicken is finished with briny olives and salty prosciutto. It’s southern French cooking at its finest.

A Dutch oven with braised chicken thighs and olives, and a single thigh and three olives on a white plate.

Adapted from Wini Moranville | Everyday French Cooking | Harvard Common Press, 2022

If you really want to underscore this recipe’s South-of-France angle, go to a gourmet market with an olive bar and purchase a variety, including France’s wrinkly-skinned Nyons olives. If you get a few green olives in the mix, tant mieux—so much the better!–Wini Moranville


Why our testers loved this

There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers gobbled this up. They found it to be moist and flavorful, and loved the briny punch that the olives added to the dish. Linda Pacchiano found that “the steps were not lengthy or complicated, and the result was succulent chicken thighs with a complementary and highly flavorful sauce.

Lisa C. joined in with her comment, “We fell in love with the juicy chicken thighs with a complex sauce, bright from the lemon zest and juice, briny from the olives, with a hint of saltiness from the pancetta.”

Notes on ingredients

Ingredients for braised chicken thighs -- chicken, broth, vermouth, oil, prosciutto, olives, onion, garlic, lemon, garlic, and dried herbs.
  • Bone-in chicken thighs–Using thighs ensures moisty, juicy chicken that can withstand being cooked to a higher temperature. You could also use bone-in chicken breasts here, but you will need to watch the cooking time and remove it from the oven when the chicken reaches 165°F to avoid dry, overcooked chicken.
  • Vermouth–Use dry white vermouth, such as Noilly Prat. Don’t use sweet red vermouth.
  • Olives–You can use any type of imported black olive here, such as Niçoise or kalamata.
  • Prosciutto–You can substitute chopped pancetta, if you prefer.

How to make this recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Chicken thighs being browned in a yellow Dutch oven, then chopped onion being sautéed in chicken fat.
  1. Brown the chicken in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain off most of the fat from the Dutch oven.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining chicken fat until softened.
Vermouth being added to a yellow Dutch oven, then chicken stock being poured in.
  1. Pour in the vermouth.
  2. Add the chicken stock. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup.
A yellow Dutch oven with braising liquid in it and the same Dutch oven with cooked chicken thighs, olives, and prosciutto.
  1. Add the herbes de Provence, lemon juice, and zest. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, skin-side up. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Uncover and add the olives and prosciutto. Bake uncovered until the internal temperature of the chicken is 180°F (82°C). Sprinkle with additional lemon zest and serve.

Recipe FAQs

What is braising?

Braising is a cooking technique that involves searing meat until browned, then gently cooking it in liquid on the stovetop or in the oven. It’s an easy, one-pot cooking method that results in tender meat and flavorful sauce.

What should I serve with these braised chicken thighs?

You’re going to want something to sop up all that delicious braising liquid. Mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, or crusty bread are all good choices. A simple side salad also pairs nicely with this comforting braised chicken thigh recipe.

Can I make this without alcohol?

Yes. You can use extra chicken stock in place of the vermouth in this recipe.

Can I make this with boneless chicken thighs?

We recommend sticking with bone-in chicken pieces when braising. The bones help to keep the meat tender, add flavor to the dish, and you are less likely to have dry, overcooked chicken when using bone-in pieces.

Helpful tips

  • Choose similar-size chicken thighs so that they cook through at the same time.
  • Pat your chicken dry before searing to allow the skin to become as crispy as possible.
  • If your chicken is fully cooked after the initial baking time, simply stir in the olives and pancetta, and let it sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to warm through.
  • Leftover chicken can be stored with some braising liquid in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
: Richard Swearinger

More great braised chicken recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Braised Chicken Thighs

A Dutch oven with braised chicken thighs and olives, and a single thigh and three olives on a white plate.

This rustic, French-style braised chicken is made with bone-in chicken thighs, olives, lemon, and a vermouth-infused sauce. It’s a comforting one-pot meal.

Prep 15 mins

Cook 50 mins

1 hr 5 mins

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the chicken browns too quickly).

  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain off all but a sheen of fat from the Dutch oven.

  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring,until the onion is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

  • Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the vermouth and chicken broth, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the Dutch oven to the heat and bring to a boil; boil, stirring with a wire whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by about 1/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the herbes de Provence, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

  • Return the chicken to the Dutch oven; cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

  • Uncover; add the olives and sprinkle the prosciutto on top of the chicken. Re-cover, return to the oven, and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 180°F (82°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes more.

  • Divvy the chicken, olives, and prosciutto bits among four shallow bowls, pour a spoonful of sauce over each, sprinkle with lemon zest, and serve.

    1. Size matters–Choose similar-size chicken thighs so that they cook through at the same time.
    2. Dry your chicken–Pat your chicken dry before searing to allow the skin to become as crispy as possible.
    3. Cooking time note–If your chicken is fully cooked after the initial baking time, simply stir in the olives and pancetta, and let it sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to warm through.
    4. Storage–Leftover chicken can be stored with some braising liquid in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.
    5. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

Serving: 2thighsCalories: 792kcal (40%)Carbohydrates: 7g (2%)Protein: 49g (98%)Fat: 61g (94%)Saturated Fat: 15g (94%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 288mg (96%)Sodium: 553mg (24%)Potassium: 692mg (20%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 306IU (6%)Vitamin C: 9mg (11%)Calcium: 49mg (5%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Recipe © 2022 Wini Moranville. Photos © 2022 David Leite. Photo © 2022 Richard Swearinger. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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