A hearty and comforting dinner recipe, braised chicken thighs are browned then slowly cooked until tender with tomatoes, olives, garlic, and red wine.
I love relaxing with a glass of wine at the end of a busy day, especially a red that is full of antioxidants so I can feel less guilt about my little indulgence while I unwind! Recently I’ve been exploring the wines available at my local D&W Fresh Market, and have been super impressed with their Finest Reserve wines that are harvested and made in California. Great for sipping, but also great for cooking! I love to use wine to add depth to sauces and stews, including these Braised Chicken Thighs. Braised in red wine and tomatoes, they’re tender and full of flavor.
- Olive oil: Heart healthy and used to caramelize the onions and brown the chicken before it is braised.
- Chicken thighs: Bone in and skin on for added levels of flavor, chicken thighs are the darker meat of the chicken, so it’s a bit fattier but that comes with flavor!
- Onion: I’ll use either a white or yellow onion to sauté and caramelize for added flavor.
- Garlic: Nutty, pungent, and aromatic flavor that is both a little spicy and sweet.
- Calabrian chilis: A bit smoky and spicy in flavor, they have a medium heat compared to the bit milder jalapeño pepper.
- Finest Reserve Wine: They make a great cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir which are both great for this dish, but you can use any dry red wine. Alternatively, if you don’t have any wine, you can use chicken stock.
- Peeled tomatoes: The tomatoes break down and help to create a rich sauce for the chicken thighs to cook in.
- Bay leaves: Used whole and then removed before eating, it adds a light, aromatic, herbal flavor.
- Green olives: Any type of green olive or Kalamata olive tastes great with the other flavors.
Cooking with Wine
Wine adds acid to your dish, and when it comes to cooking, it helps to tenderize your meat. Whether you are using it to deglaze your pan and make a sauce, or adding it to a marinade, the acidity will not only make for a more tender bite, but it usually balances out the flavors as well. Especially when slow cooking, most of the alcohol cooks out. But to be safe when serving to children, only use wine when cooking something low and slow for at least 2 hours.
When it comes to cooking with wine, you can use a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, or whatever else you have on hand! Depending on the dish you’re making, a dry red vs a dry white might be better. I prefer to use white with seafood, and a red with beef or pork. I love that I can get a wide variety of wines from my local D&W Fresh Market; great quality at a value price! Finest Reserve by Our Family uses fresh, authentic ingredients to create unique, gourmet flavors and a taste experience you’ll want to share, savor, and remember forever.
How to Make Braised Chicken Thighs
Prepare to make your braised chicken thighs by peeling and thinly slicing your onion and garlic, and mincing your chilis.
Then in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and brown your chicken thighs on each side. Then add the onion, garlic, and chilies along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Next you’ll take your favorite red wine and use it to deglaze the pan (and maybe pour a glass to sip as well).
Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits that stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
Try not to move the chicken as it is still forming a crust.
Then add the peeled whole tomatoes to the pan and use kitchen scissors to cut into smaller pieces.
And add the green olives and bay leaves.
Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes, or internal temperature of chicken reaches 165.
When chicken is fully cooked and tender, garnish with fresh parsley or other fresh herbs, serve, and enjoy your Braised Chicken Thighs!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should meat be submerged to braise?
No, not fully. You can braise in all sorts of liquids, but make sure that you aren’t fully submerging your meat, as that then will stew your dish instead of braise it.
Does meat have to be covered to braise?
You should always cover your pots when braising so that your meat cooks in in the simmering liquid and the steam for moist, tender results.
What does braising mean?
Braising is essentially a cooking method that browns meat first, then cooks them slowly in a small amount of liquid to develop more flavor and make things very tender.
more Recipes Using Wine
- Crab Linguine in a White Wine Garlic Sauce
- Beef Bolognese
- Sautéed Salmon with White Wine, Tomatoes, and Onion
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce
- Best Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast
Eat It, Like It, Share It!
Did you try this chicken recipe? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials. Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.
If you need a warm, comforting dish on a cold fall or winter day, then my Braised Chicken Thighs are just what the doctor ordered. Serve along side some rice or salad and you’ve got yourself a meal.
Your fork is waiting.
Braised Chicken Thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons calabrian chilis (minced, optional )
- ½ cup Finest Reserve by Our Family Pinot Noir (or any dry red wine )
- 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- ⅓ cup green olives (any type (or kalamata))
- minced parsley (optional garnish)
- In a large Dutch oven or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season chicken thighs evenly on both sides with salt and pepper. Skin side down, sear chicken in pan until a golden brown crust forms, about 5-7 minutes.
- When you flip the chicken, add onion, garlic and chilis to the pan, along with a sprinkle salt and pepper. Saute onions and garlic until aromatic, about 60 seconds, then Pour Finest Reserve by Our Family Pinot Noir in to pan and carefully deglaze, using a brown wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits (while trying not to disturb chicken which is now forming crust on other side.)
- Pour whole peeled tomatoes and olives in to the pan then carefully use scissors to begin breaking down the tomatoes in to bite-sized chunks. Bring pan to a boil then reduce to simmer. Add in bay leaves then cover pot with a tight lid. Let simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley to serve!
Disclosure: This recipe was developed in partnership with Spartan Nash. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own.