One-Pot Braised Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Story by Natalie
crispy chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet with kale and white beans
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One-pot braised chicken with kale and white beans is a hearty, healthy, cozy one-dish dinner that comes together in under an hour. In other words, it’s 100% pure, certified weeknight gold. 

Chicken Thighs? CHICKEN THIGHS!

Chicken thighs, you guys. We're not going to stop singing the praises of chicken thighs—not now, not ever! They're so much more flavorful than chicken breast, and they just love a good braise. Toss them in a big Dutch oven with some kale and white beans, and their schmaltzy richness will seep into those veggies and bring them to life. Capers, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and fresh tarragon lift this easy one-dish dinner into heady realms of herbal brightness. Are you on board now?

one pot braised chicken and kale with white beans in a cast iron skillet

Winter is for Braising. 

You know that Dutch oven you got as a wedding gift? You know the one. It’s that big cast-iron and enamel behemoth sitting in the back of a cupboard taking up a lot of space. Well, when the barometer drops, break that thing out! It’s braising season, friends. And in our house, braising and chicken thighs go hand-in-hand. Here’s why: 

  • Flavor! Braising is the OG slow-cooking. Before there were Crock-Pots, there was braising. Low and slow, this moist-heat cooking method is the ideal way to cook a cut of skin-on chicken (like a chicken thigh) because it draws out the chicken fat and lets it slowly melt into the kale and white beans that it cooks with. 
  • It’s easy! Braised chicken thighs are so easy—you just give the skin-on chicken thighs a nice sear in the same pan you’ll braise them in, so that they’re nicely crispy. Then add whatever you’d like to braise them with—in this case kale and white beans—and let your Dutch oven or braiser team up with your warm oven to finish the dish. 

One-Pan Chicken Chicken Thighs with Kale and White Beans—a Recipe in Three Steps. 

A really comforting, cozy chicken dinner is within reach! One pot meals are a must for weekday cooks—think of this chicken thigh recipe as a template. It’s delicious as it’s written, but once you master the technique, play around with different vegetables or additions! Maybe swap chard for the kale, or try adding some canned tomatoes to the mix. 

Here’s how to make our one-pot chicken with kale and white beans: 

  1. Sear chicken thighs until they were crispy and brown in a heavy skillet, then set them aside on a cutting board or baking sheet. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through—that'll happen when they braise in the oven. 
  2. Back to the pan! Reduce the rendered chicken fat (the fat leftover in the pan from searing the thighs) into a thick, chicken piccata-like sauce, along with the chicken stock, fresh tarragon, lemon juice, capers, shallots, Dijon and butter. 
  3. Add several huge handfuls of kale, and the white beans. 
  4. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan with the kale and beans 
  5. Oven time! Let everything braise slowly into one beautifully rich one pot wonder. 
  6. Serve! While serving this one-pot braised chicken and kale over some creamy potatoes or polenta would surely bring tears to your eyes, it can also stand alone just as it is for the perfect meal on any given Tuesday night.
cast iron braiser filled with one pot braised crispy chicken and kale with white beans

Tools You’ll Need: 

Other One-Pan Chicken Recipes to Make Your Weeknights Easy: 

Whether it requires you to break out your Dutch oven, or just a sheet pan, these one-pan meals keep clean-up quick as can be: 

Braised Chicken Thighs—You Get It Now, Right?

So much more than the sum of its parts, and as welcome on a dreary winter weeknight as it is as the focal point of your next dinner party, dutch oven chicken thighs are one of the recipes that has to be made to be believed. When you make it, let us know how it goes! Snap a photo of your beautiful pan of chicken thighs and kale, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see! Happy eating!

cast iron braiser with one pot braised chicken and kale with white beans

One-Pot Braised Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 shallot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, separated
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp cold butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp freshly chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup capers
10 cups kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 13.5 oz can white cannellini beans

Method

  1. In a large skillet or braiser with a tight fitting lid heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium/high heat.
  2. In a small bowl mix together paprika, salt and pepper. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season them generously with the paprika mixture.
  3. Place the thighs, 4 at a time, skin side down into the pan. Allow the skin to brown (about 4-5 minutes) then flip them and continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
  4. Remove from pan, set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining thighs. Once the chicken has been removed, add the shallots to the pan and cook over medium heat until just tender.
  5. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock to the pan along with the dijon mustard. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up brown bits and incorporate ingredients. Continue simmering until sauce reduces to about 1 cup and thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon.Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cold butter. At the is point the sauce will begin to thicken like the photos show above. Once the butter is incorporated add lemon juice, capers and tarragon.
  6. Add the kale and white beans to the pan and toss until greens are lightly coated with the sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan, tucking each thigh into the greens.
  7. Drizzle the remaining broth over the entire dish, cover and return to low heat. Braise the mixture over low heat for 30 minutes. While the dish is just fine as is, we like our skin a little crispy.

If you want to take the extra step for good crispy skins, place the entire dish under the broiler for 3 more minutes, or until skins start to bubble. Serve over mashed potatoes or a bed of creamy polenta. Enjoy!