Wine-braised chicken has to be one of the most beloved comfort foods in France – with probably as many variations as grandmothers in the country. The concept of browning meat in a bit of oil, and then cooking it in liquid (ie. wine) always makes for incredible flavors, and meat that is fork-tender. And if you ask me, I find braised meat slightly more sophisticated than stews, yet just as comforting.
In this favorite braised recipe of mine, onions and loads of garlic are caramelized in butter, and plump chicken thighs are seared on the stovetop until crispy. Everything then get braised in the oven in white wine and aromatics. It makes for a delicious combination of sweet and salty flavors, with crisp and melty textures.
It’s such a simple and humble dish, yet full of rich flavors and absolute comfort. You can achieve the whole dish in one pot – if you choose one that goes from the stovetop to the oven – and in under one hour.
How to make these Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Onion
The recipe starts by salting the chicken thighs 2 to 3 hours before you start cooking (leave them on the counter). This allows enough time for the meat to fully absorb the salt, and results in evenly seasoned and moist chicken thighs.
When ready, sear the chicken thighs, skin-side down in an oven-proof pan with olive oil and thyme until golden brown. Flip the thighs and continue searing until nearly cooked through. Transfer the chicken to plate and cover with foil.
The recipe continues with caramelizing the onions and garlic in the same pan, with some butter and using the chicken drippings. When caramelized, the chicken is placed back into the pan along with dry white wine. The dish is finally transferred into the oven for 30 minutes, until perfectly golden and fragrant.
- I recommend you salt your chicken beforehand (2 to 3 hours before), to allow the salt to penetrate into the meat. If you’re interested in knowing more about how salt is used to build and enhance flavor in food (especially for meats), I recommend the book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat.
- Leaving the skin on the chicken is essential to this recipe. The chicken will be first cooked, skin-side down, in the pan. The fat from the skin will melt and render into the pan, and be used later to caramelize the onions and garlic, and as a base for the sauce. It will contribute greatly to building flavors in this dish. You can choose to remove the skin later on – in your plate, once the dish is served.
- Instead of chicken thighs, you can substitute skin-on chicken legs.
I hope you’ll love these Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Onion as much as I do! This is a simple yet impressive recipe that is perfect for Fall and Winter. You can serve it with pasta, rice, other types of grains (quinoa, barley, etc.) or green beans.
You may also like:
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts in Grape Sauce
- Simple Chicken Marengo with Mushrooms
- Cod Provençal with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives
- Slow-Cooker Beef Bourguignon
6 Chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp (15ml) Extra virgin olive oil
7-8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp (28.5g) unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and sliced in half-rounds
6 garlic cloves, peeled (3 cloves diced/3 cloves left whole)
1/3 cup dry white wine
Step 1 - Two hours prior to cooking, rinse the chicken thighs under cold water and pat-dry thoroughly with paper towel. Season each piece with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside, at room temperature.
Pre-heat your oven to 350F (180C) with a rack in the middle.
Step 2 - Heat up a large oven-safe frying pan (or skillet) over medium heat with the extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is sizzling, place the chicken thighs, skin-side down, in the pan and sprinkle with the thyme sprigs. Cook for about 8-10 minutes (uncovered) until the chicken skin is golden to golden brown. Flip the chicken thighs and cook for 6-7 more minutes. Transfer the chicken and thyme to a plate and cover with foil. Keep the pan hot and do not rinse it (keep the chicken drippings in).
Step 3 - Add the butter to the pan. When the butter is foaming, add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly caramelized. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan, on top of the onion. Pour the white wine into the pan and transfer the pan into the oven for 30 minutes (uncovered).
Serve, over pasta or rice.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appetit!