Sometimes I feel like such a cliché.
What am I talking about? Well, I’m about to go off on a rant about the weather. Typical Minnesotan.
I’m freezing. The temperature has been below zero all week. Below ZERO. As in zero degrees would be an improvement. It’s cold and I can’t do anything productive because the thought of getting up from under an afghan is too much to handle. I want to sit around, drinking tea or red wine, and eat. Eat warm, nourishing food. Comforting food like braised chicken. Mashed potatoes? Obviously.
Okay, I can get out from under the afghan as long as it’s for a good cause and it involves turning on the oven. And I’d say this is a pretty good cause: chicken thighs with crispy skin, braised with pearl onions, rosemary, and red grapes. For good measure, we’ll serve it up on a mound of garlic-y mashed potatoes with a smattering of roasted Brussels sprouts and plenty of pan juices. I’m feeling warmer and more good-natured just thinking about it.
When they’ve been seared all around, remove them from the pan and throw the pearl onions in to caramelize. After the onions have taken on some color and sweetness, add a couple of cloves of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, and a few small bunches of grapes to the mix.
Splash in some white wine and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Nestle the chicken back into the pan, skin side up, and pour in enough stock so the meat is covered but the skin is exposed. We took care to make sure that skin got nice and crisp and we intend to keep it that way. Pop it in the oven for half an hour while you roast some Brussels sprouts and mash the potatoes.
When the chicken is downright succulent, take the pan out of the oven. Remove the meat, put it on a tented plate, and reduce the sauce. Whisk in a pat of butter and pour yourself a glass of wine.
Okay, this is good. This I can handle. The juice cleanse can wait for a warmer month.
- 4 Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skin-on, patted dry
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 c. Pearl Onions (frozen are preferred, unless you have mega patience for peeling tiny onions!)
- ½# Red Grapes, divided in 4 bunches
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 1 c. Dry White Wine
- 2 c. Chicken Stock
- 1 Tbsp. Butter
- Preheat oven to 400°. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat. Place chicken, skin side down in the hot pan and sear until the skin is dark, golden, and crisp, about 8 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.
- Pour off all but a thin coating of fat from the pan. Add the pearl onions and sauté over medium-low heat until lightly golden and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, and grapes. Season and sauté briefly, until garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Scrape up all of the brown bits on the bottom of the pan as you do this. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, and add chicken stock to just cover the meat, leaving the skin exposed. Bring to a simmer and transfer to the oven. Braise for 30 minutes, until chicken is very tender.
- Remove chicken from pan, place on a plate, and tent with foil. Return the pan to the stove and boil until the pan juices have reduced by half. Remove rosemary stem. Turn off the heat, check seasoning, and whisk in the butter. Divide chicken, onions, and grape bunches between 2 plates and spoon sauce around the plate.