Mediterranean Braised Chicken with Apricots
This simple Mediterranean Braised Chicken recipe is the perfect comfort food, but without all the work! Perfectly seasoned with Mediterranean spices, then cooked in a rich and aromatic red wine sauce complete with onion, garlic and mushrooms. Apricots add a hint of sweetness, but not too sweet! Just a fruity twist that balances the acidity of the red wine sauce. Finished with a splash of lemon juice, fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts; the end result is tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken bathed in a delicious red wine sauce. Effortless, this one-pot wonder is made in just one hour!
What You Need
- Chicken – We recommend chicken thighs with the bone and also use skinless chicken thighs. If you do leave the skin on, make sure it is not fully submerged in the liquid so it gets exposed to the dry heat in the oven. Boneless thighs could work as well, but will have less flavor than thighs with the bone left in.
- Red wine – The best wines to use for this recipe are full-bodied red wines; however, you can make any wine work! Fruitier, less full-bodied reds like Pinot Noir can be used or even white wine, if you prefer a lighter, sweeter flavor.
- Onion & Garlic – If you prefer, you can substitute shallots for the onion and you will need LOTS of garlic.
- Chicken broth – A good chicken broth or stock adds extra flavor to this decadent dish!
- Dried Apricots – Dried apricots add a bit of sweetness that balances out the richness of the sauce. You can substitute them with dried figs or prunes.
- Mushrooms - who doesn’t love the light, earthy, umami flavor of mushrooms! White or baby portobello mushrooms work best in this recipe but feel free to change things up by adding your favorite variety or any mushroom you already have in your fridge.
- Mediterranean Spices – This spice blend is made with dried rosemary, paprika, coriander powder, black pepper and salt.
- Pine nuts - Pine nuts add a delicious and much needed crunch to the final dish.
Steps To Make It
Mix together the Mediterranean spices (dried rosemary, paprika, coriander powder, salt and pepper) in a small bowl. For a variation, you can try smoked paprika. Rub this mixture nicely onto chicken and let it rest while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350F and dry the chicken well with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the chicken for for 7-8 minutes. Flip and cook for 3-4 more minutes, until nice golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add more olive oil if needed and add in sliced onions and sauté for a minute. Add in garlic slices and sauté another minute. Add a little wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to mix in the good brown crunchies left behind from the chicken. Stir in the rest of the wine and chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pinch of salt if necessary.
- Nestle the chicken thighs in the sauce along with rosemary, oregano, mushrooms and apricots. Bring it to a simmer for couple of minutes.
- Transfer the pot to the oven and cook uncovered for about 40-45 minutes. Halfway through check the sauce and if the liquid is drying out add splash of broth or wine to the pot.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium low heat for a minute or two, being careful not to let them scorch.
- Once the chicken is fall off the bone tender, remove from the oven and finish it off and garnish it with few fresh more herbs and toasted pine nuts
- Serve it with bread, couscous or rice.
Tips For Braising Chicken
Braising chicken is one of the easiest ways to cook chicken, believe it or not! It’s a fairly simple technique that requires only one pot and the result is an incredibly delicious meat that is both crispy and succulent. All you need is a dutch oven pot (or any pot that is oven safe)! Here are a few tips to creating mastering the art of braising chicken:
- While we recommend braising chicken in chicken broth, you can use water instead. The chicken will still turn out to be flavourful, but just make sure you season the water with enough salt.
- Do not cover the chicken completely with liquid. If the chicken is completely covered, you are actually poaching it instead of braising it. Instead, you need enough liquid so that the meat is surrounded but not submerged (barely skimming the surface). As you braise, the liquid will reduce, resulting in a highly concentrated sauce with maximum flavour!
- Sear the chicken thighs longer than you think. The obvious first step is browning the chicken thighs, but often, we're too eager to turn it over prematurely. Don't do that. Place your chicken skin side down first and let it sear for 8 minutes, undisturbed (resist moving the chicken, you can adjust heat if you notice excessive smoke.)
What To Serve It With?
Mediterranean braised chicken is delicious with starchy sides like rice, mashed potatoes, couscous or bread. Because the dish is hearty, you can also serve it alongside a side of green beans, steamed broccoli or your favorite salad!
How to Store Mediterranean Braised Chicken?
This dish will keep well covered in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat it in the dutch oven or a saucepan over medium-low heat, adding a little more liquid if needs be, until it is hot.
You can also freeze any leftovers in a zip-lock bag or containers that will store the liquid as well.
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