I’m sort of crazy about chicken thighs. I don’t know about you guys, but they happen to be my favorite part of the chicken—aside from the drumsticks, but that’s only because I love the idea of eating like a caveman which is a story for another time. But yes, I love the thighs because to me, they’re the most flavorful and most versatile of the chicken pieces. You can do a lot with them, but predominantly their fat makes them perfect for slow cooking. Take these Sauvignon Blanc and Mustard Braised Chicken Thighs for instance, they’re first seared and then slowly braised in a delicious white wine and mustard sauce made with Barefoot Wine’s Sauvignon Blanc. The fresh thyme and tarragon gives it that perfect rustic taste that makes people believe you cooked it all day. No one needs to know that it’s a lot easier than that. Rule number one in the kitchen, don’t share all of your secrets. You follow that rule, I wont because then I won’t have anything to share with you.
When the weather (finally) begins to cool down, like now, I like to get in the kitchen and make these heartier dishes that require an hour or two in the oven, cooking away in a stew-like sauce. There’s something so magical about autumn cooking that makes me so happy. Maybe it’s the idea of creating something warm and comforting for those you love. It could also be the fact that if you serve this with some crusty bread for mopping up the sauce, it would just be the perfect pairing. Bread is always a happy welcome to any meal I’m eating.
I always like to encourage people to braise more of their meats. While yes, it does take a while to cook—the whole low and slow method isn’t for everyone—braising is absolutely incredible. The meat gets so tender that it just falls off the bone. FALLS. OFF. THE. BONE. One might think that such a long cooking time would dry out the meat but if you think about it, the meat is slow-cooking in this delicious sauce just making it super moist. You can’t beat that.
We’re going to start by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper, liberally on both sides.
**Note: Make sure you wash your hands really well and the counter and anything else that the chicken has come in contact with. It’s very important because there are some serious diseases linked with raw chicken.**
Before we sear the chicken on both sides, we need to develop that awesome browned color and flavor. So let’s pass them through a bit of flour.
**Note: We’re only lightly dusting them in a bit of all-purpose flour and shaking off the excess. That tiny bit of flour coating will help it get all brown and crispy.**
Heat a large dutch oven (or other oven-safe pot) over medium-high heat with olive oil.
Sear the chicken thighs on both sides, until golden brown and crispy.
**Note: We’re not looking to cook the chicken all the way, but rather just develop that great flavor in the pot and on the chicken itself. It’ll finish cooking later on.**
Sear the chicken in batches, making sure to not overcrowd the pot. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate or platter while you continue with the rest.
Once all of the chicken thighs are seared, reheat the pot (with the oil and juices still in) and add the sliced shallots, garlic and thyme. Sauté for a few minutes to soften.
Cook until they’ve softened and are somewhat caramelized, then add in the white wine.
**Tip: I partnered up with Barefoot wine to bring you this delicious recipe! I decided to use their sauvignon blanc for this dish because the flavors are perfect for the slow cooking of the chicken.**
Throw in the chicken stock and mustard as well. Cook until the sauce has reduced slightly.
Add the seared chicken thighs back into the pot with the wine mustard sauce, making sure to fit them in snuggly. Add a few more fresh sprigs of thyme (for added flavor).
Put the lid on the pot and place in a preheated 325ºF oven for about 1 hour. The chicken will be tender and super soft.
**Cooking the chicken thighs low and slow, helps keep them moist and and makes them fall-off the bone tender. Just set it and forget it.**
Once it has cooked for 1 hour, carefully transfer the chicken thighs to a plate or platter and cover loosely with foil to keep it warm.
Place the pot back on the stove, over medium-high heat, cook until it has reduced by half and slightly thickened. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving and sprinkle with a bit of chopped fresh tarragon (for color and taste).
You can easily serve this chicken with basmati rice and a tossed green salad, or mashed potatoes with a tossed green salad. If you’re not feeling either of those, you can also roast some potatoes in the oven and serve the chicken with that.
The great thing about cooking with wine is that not only do you get the incredible wine flavor in the dish itself but you can also drink the wine along with dinner because it’ll pair so well with the flavors in the dish.
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 shallots, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup Barefoot Wine Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup whole grain mustard
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Season the chicken thighs, liberally on both sides, with the salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish, and lightly dredge the chicken in it, shaking off the excess.
- Heat a dutch oven (or other oven safe pot) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and allow to heat through. Sear the chicken thighs until brown and crispy on both sides. Brown it in batches, transferring the seared thighs to a platter or plate and continuing with the rest. Once all the chicken has browned, add the sliced shallots, garlic and 3 thyme sprigs. Sauté until softened and just caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock and mustard and cook until it has slightly reduced.
- Return the browned chicken to the pot with the sauce. Top with the remaining thyme leaves and cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven and braise for about 1 hour. Transfer chicken to platter and cover loosely with foil.
- Place the pot on the stove top over medium heat. Simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and top with fresh chopped tarragon. Enjoy!
- yield: 4 servings