Braised chicken is the most wonderful one-pot meal. The idea of braising might scare people but it can’t be more simple: brown the chicken to get a nice crust, sauteé some aromatics like onion & garlic, add liquid to make a sauce and then put the chicken back in to cook low and slow. The result is super-tender, juicy chicken with a sauce that will have your family lapping it up with whatever bread you have. I love this version, from In Sock Monkey Slippers, that uses fresh lemons and lemon juice to make a wonderfully flavorful meal.
(image and recipe from In Sock Monkey Slippers)
8 chicken thighs (figure on 2 per serving)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
1 clove garlic, peeled roughly chopped
1 shallot, peeled, roughly chopped
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups quality or homemade chicken stock
1 lemon, quartered
12 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350°F. Evenly sprinkle salt and pepper over thighs. In a large braising pot with a lid, heat oil on high heat. Place 4 chicken thighs skin down in the pot and sear until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and sear on the other side until browned. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining thighs.
Reduce heat to medium. After allowing the oil to cool slightly, about a 2 minutes, add the garlic, shallots, and Brussels sprouts. Cook for 3 minutes until the Brussels sprouts are bright green. Add lemon juice and chicken stock. Return the thighs to the pot with the sprouts and add lemon slices and thyme. Cover, transfer to the oven, and braise for 1 hour.
Plate chicken thighs and Brussels sprouts and serve with a drizzle of the “au jus” – the lemony braising liquid that remains.
Optional: To enhance the flavor and to make a “sauce” with the remaining braising juices, remove the thighs and Brussels sprouts and strain the cooking liquid. Return the “jus” to the braising pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until reduce by half until thickened slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir to combine. Spoon over chicken thighs.