How To Braise Chicken

Let’s learn how to braise chicken. This technique of braising is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken. I think pretty much anything that you cook low and slow can be delicious.

Now braising is usually done for tough pieces of meat, and chicken really does not fall under this category but the flavor you get from braising really increases the flavor of the chicken.

When choosing the chicken pieces to braise I would focus on pieces with the bone-in and larger pieces like the legs and thighs. If you have big enough pan you could even braise an entire chicken.

Video – How to braise chicken

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • 16 oz Chicken stock
  • 3 Carrot
  • 3 Celery
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp Avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 3 cloves Garlic

Equipment

  • braiser
  • chef knife
  • cutting board

9 Simple steps for braised chicken

Prepare the vegetables

onions being chopped

The 3 most common vegetables used in braising are carrots, celery, and onions. This is called mirepoix and it is a staple in French cuisine.

  • Wash the carrots and celery
  • Rough chop the carrots and the celery, I like to shoot for 3/8in wide.
  • Chop up your garlic and the onions.

Prepare the pan

adding oil to a braiser pan

Go ahead and heat a pan on the stovetop. If you’re using a dutch oven you want to put it on low heat seeing that they heat up hot fast.

You need to choose a pan that you can use in the oven or stovetop that has a lid to finish off the cooking. “It Must Have a Lid”

After the pan is hot enough add some oil that you think you will not smoke. I like to use avocado oil when cooking with hotter pans because it has a high smoke point.

Quick Tip

Oil Ready

To know if the oil is ready, make sure it’s not smoking, if so, it’s to hot. Get your fingers a little wet with water and then flick some in the pan. If the water evaporates quickly you are ready to go!

Brown the chicken

browning the chicken in the braiser pan

Take your chicken thighs and lightly sprinkle them with salt. You want to keep the salt to a minimum at this point because we are going to add chicken stock and that is salty in itself.

After the oil is heated up go ahead and add the chicken thighs with the skin side down. Do not move the chicken around, let the hot pan and oil brown and crisp up that skin.

Test the chicken to see if it is stuck to the pan after a few minutes, if it still is then it is not time to flip it yet.

When you test it and it is no longer stuck to the pan and it has a nice brown color then the chicken is ready to flip over.

Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and put them to the side for a moment.

Also try breaking down your own chicken! I have full breakdown on how at how to cut up a whole chicken.

Saute onions, garlic and tomato paste

Add the onions and garlic to the pan. Saute them around until you get the strong aroma of the garlic coming through.

At that point add the tomato paste and work that around the dish. You want the flavor of the tomato paste to shine and adding it to a hot pan will help this.

Work the tomato paste around the pan help cook some of the paste to help release some of the flavor that hides inside.

Deglaze the pan

deglazing the pan with chicken stock

Before the brown bits on the bottom of the pan burn, go ahead and add a little bit of the chicken stock to the pan.

Adding the stock when its hot will deglaze the pan and take that flavor of the fond in the pan and add to the dish.

Move a spatula around the bottom to get the fond off of the pan. Adding a little bit of the stock will let you see how well you’re getting the fond off the pan.

Add carrots and celery

Now that the pan is deglazed a bit add the carrots and celery to the pan. Work them around the pan to cover them with the sauce that you created with the onions, garlic, tomato paste, and chicken stock. Let a simmer for a few minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan

Adding chicken back to the pan

Now that we have added the vegetables to the pan and have deglazed the pan, and added the flavors of the fond to the dish. Go ahead and add the chicken back to the dish.

Add some fresh ground pepper to the chicken.

I like to add them skin side up so that the bones are under the liquid.

Add the remaining stock to cover a third of the way up the chicken. If you do not have enough stock at the very least add some water to bring up the level in the pan.

Slow cook the chicken

chicken thighs being braised

Add the cover to the pan and put it into the preheated oven at 300 degrees or if you are cooking it in a dutch oven just leave it on the stovetop on low if you like.

The plan is to cook it low and slow after the browning of the chicken we did on the stovetop. Adding a cover will keep the moisture in the dish and this is a key part of cooking with this method.

This is going to bring out the flavor and something to the chicken that you only see when you braise it!

Remove from heat

removing from the stove

Check the chicken to see if it is falling off of the bone. When it reaches this state you know that it is done cooking. Remove it from the stovetop or the oven and let it rest with the cover off.

If you remove it from the liquid without it cooling in the liquid you might end up with tough meat. So, don’t rush it. You need to be patient and wait 20-30 minutes if you’re using a dutch oven.

Serve the dish

serving the braised chicken

At this stage you should have perfectly cooked chicken thighs that are falling off the bone. Serve it with your favorite vegetable!

To take this dish to the next level you can make a sauce from the mirepoix that was cooking at the bottom of the pot.

FAQ

What does it mean to braise chicken?

Braising chicken is the simple process of combining two cooking methods. The first is sauteing the dish and searing it. The 2nd step is cooking the dish in liquid low and slow. This technique comes from the French word “braiser”.

Should braising liquid cover the meat?

This depends on how thick and flavorful you want your sauce. The more liquid you have the more it will dilute the fond bits that you added to the sauce when you deglaze the pot. Personally I don’t think you should go more than halfway up the meat in the pan.

Braising liquid for chicken

The most popular braising liquids for chicken are…

  • Chicken stock
  • Vegetable stock
  • White wine
  • At the very least you can use water
braised chicken in a pot

How to Braise Chicken

Learn how to braise chicken. This recipe makes mouthwatering chicken thighs that you will thoroughly enjoy.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: brasied chicken thighs recipe, how to braise chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 431kcal
Author: Bob

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • 16 oz Chicken stock
  • 3 Carrot
  • 3 Celery
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp Avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 3 cloves Garlic

Instructions

  • Prepare the vegetable before cooking. Wash the carrots and celery and then rough chop the carrots, celery and onions to a size around 3/8". Chop up the garlic to a size 1/8".
  • Heat the pan on the stovetop for a few minutes on medium to low depending on the pan your using. Then add some oil to the pan and let it heat up.
  • Lightly salt your chicken thighs then add them to the pan skin side down to brown the chicken.
    After the chicken starts to release from the pan and you have got a good brown on the skin go ahead and flip it.
    Add some salt to the backside of the chicken after the flip.
    After a light browning on the back side go ahead and remove the chicken from the pan.
  • Add the onions and garlic. Saute them around the pan to soften them a bit and for them to get some color from the fond in the pot.
    Wait for that smell from the garlic and then add the tomato paste before you deglaze the pan.
  • Deglaze the pot with some chicken stock. Start with a little and use a wooden spatula to get the fond of the bottom of the pan.
    Add the carrots and celery to pan and work them around to add let them simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan. Add some fresh ground pepper to the dish.
    Pour the rest of the chicken stock in the pan to about 1/2 of the way up the chicken. If you don't have enough depending on the size of the pan just add some water.
  • Cover your pot or pan and put into the oven on 300 degrees until the chicken pulls off super easy from the bones. Typically this will be around 1.5 hrs.
    If you're using a dutch oven you can just keep it on the stovetop on low.
    You can baste if you would like half way through the cooking.
  • Remove the dish from the heat but leave it in the liquid. Let it rest for 20 minutes or so. Don't rush this step.
  • Serve the dish with your favorite vegetable and enjoy!

Notes

Tip 1

Constantly watch your pot or pan when you are doing the browning. You do not want to burn the fond on the bottom of the pan.

Tip 2

Make sure you let the chicken rest in the liquid after it is done cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 944mg | Potassium: 730mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 7951IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

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