Perfect Chicken Thighs + Perfect Potatoes = The Perfect One-Pot Dinner
Moist, tender chicken thighs, rich with the flavor of their essential chicken-ness, enhanced simply by fresh garlic, shallots and lemon—what could be better than that? Well, what if you pair that perfect braised chicken with buttery, melt-in-your-mouth baby potatoes and a good dose of butter and chives to finish it all off! And what if the whole beautiful thing came together in one big pot? That perfect, dreamy, classic dinner? That’s this braised chicken recipe.
What is Braised Chicken?
You know what braised chicken is—you’ve surely eaten it before. But what is braising, exactly? And how is braised chicken different from roast chicken? These are all really great questions! And while you don’t necessarily need to understand these nuances in order to follow this braised chicken thigh recipe, understanding exactly what’s going on in your oven, or your pot, can help you feel a lot more confident in the kitchen. Let’s answer all of your most urgent questions about braising:
- What is braising? To be technical about it, braising is a "moist-heat cooking method" which just means that braised food is cooked—either on the stove top or in the oven—low and slow, with some liquid added and a lid on. It’s the ideal way to cook a cut of skin-on chicken (like a chicken thigh) because it draws out the chicken fat slowly, and results in super moist finished product.
- How is braised chicken different from roast chicken? Remember how we said that braising is a “moist-heat” cooking method? That’s because whatever you’re braising—in this case, chicken thighs—will always be cooked covered with a lid or at least some tightly-wrapped foil. That cover traps liquid as it turns to steam, creating a warm and moist cooking environment. Roasting, on the other hand, is a dry-heat cooking method. The heat is high, but when you roast something, you don’t cover it so the surface area of the food—veggies, or chicken or even a whole turkey—is exposed to the dry heat of the inside of your oven as it cooks. Both methods have a time and a place, but braising is our favorite way to cook chicken thighs because they just turn out so moist, tender and intensely flavorful.
- Do I need a special pot for braising? Sort of! You need a pot with a lid that fits. A Dutch oven is ideal. In a pinch, you could just cover an oven-safe pot with a tightly fitted piece of tin foil, though, if you don’t have a good lidded pot.
A Few Classic Ingredients Yield A Truly Classic Chicken and Potatoes Dinner
This braised chicken recipe is all about the wonderful, rich flavor of chicken—it’s really a celebration of just how great chicken can truly be when cooked with a bit of care. We don’t want any ingredients that hide or take away from the chicken itself—its crisp skin and tender, moist meat—so we’re keeping it as classic as can be. All you’ll need to make this braised chicken recipe are:
- Chicken thighs
- Baby Yukon Gold potatoes
- All the fresh alliums: garlic, chives, shallots
- Chicken stock
How To Make This Hearty Braised Chicken
Warming, cozy and a bit elegant, this simple braise is basically a one-pot meal. Pair it with a simple green salad, and dinner is served.
- Boil the potatoes until they’re almost fork-tender—start checking them after about ten minutes. This is a job you could do ahead of time, because they’ll get cooked again in the pot with the chicken thighs.
- Brown! Brown the seasoned chicken thighs in a little oil, so the skin gets brown and crisp. You can do this in the same pot you’ll use to braise the whole dish, FYI, but you might need to work in batches.
- Simmer! Tuck the chicken thighs, potatoes, garlic, shallots and lemon into the pot, pour stock over it all and get the liquid simmering.
- Time to braise! Lid on, and into the oven! Braise for about 40 minutes, or until your meat thermometer says the thighs are done—look for a reading of 165°F.
- Finish by adding a little butter and fresh chives to the pan to create a pan sauce from all of those gorgeous golden juices.
A Chicken Recipe To Share, To Love, To Pass Down
This braised chicken thigh recipe is the kind of thing that we just know we’ll be making for decades. It’s comforting, simple, and it just hits the spot. Make it twice, and you’ll have it memorized. If you make it, let us know how you like it. Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!