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 a big enough pan you could even braise an entire chicken.
Video – How to braise chicken
- 1.5 lbs Bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Freshly ground pepper
- 16 oz Chicken stock
- 3 Carrot
- 3 Celery
- 1 Onion
- 1 tbsp Avocado oil
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- 3 cloves Garlic
9 Simple steps for braised chicken
Prepare the vegetables
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
- Roughly chop the carrots and the celery, I like to shoot for 3/8in wide.
- Chop up your garlic and the onions.
Prepare the 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.
Brown the chicken
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 a full breakdown of how 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 to help cook some of the paste to help release some of the flavors that hide inside.
Deglaze the pan
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 it’s hot will deglaze the pan and take that flavor of the fond in the pan and add it 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
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 the 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
Add the cover to the pan and put it into the preheated oven at 300°F 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
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
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.