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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Chicken thighs braised with oranges and olives offer hearty, appealing flavors in a relatively short time

Braised Chicken Thighs with Oranges and OlivesKaroline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

Even during a pandemic, schedules don’t often allow for the long, slow cooking times required for braising large cuts of meat. But there are smaller cuts you can braise, like chicken thighs, which cook in a relatively short amount of time and still give you those appealing, hearty flavors. Saute a base of onion and garlic, and stir in fresh oregano, honey, sherry vinegar, white wine, and orange juice. Green olives, like large and fruity Castelvetrano from Sicily, add a touch of umami (or use another meaty, green olive). Brown the thighs briefly in a large Dutch oven, working in batches, if necessary, and then nestle them into the braising liquid. The key to serving perfectly browned and crispy chicken skin is to submerge the bones and most of the meat on the thighs, but not the skin. You don't need to cover the pot. The minimum cooking temperature for poultry is 165 degrees, but these thighs will likely surpass that. Dark meat cooked in liquid can easily go as high as 185 degrees, and actually fare better as it approaches the falling-off-the-bone stage of cooking. Spoon the braising liquid over rice and garnish with the orange slices -- they're now spoon tender -- then set the crispy-skinned thighs on top.

2tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin intact
Salt and pepper, to taste
1medium onion, sliced
3cloves garlic, chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2tablespoons honey
2tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1cup white wine
Grated rind and juice of 2 Navel oranges
1 Navel orange, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
1cup large green olives, such as Castelvetrano, pitted and halved
Extra sprigs of fresh oregano (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

2. In a large, wide, flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the oil. Sprinkle the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, place 4 thighs in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until well browned. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining thighs in the same way.

3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the oregano, honey, vinegar, wine, orange rind and juice, and the orange slices. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the olives, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Nestle the thighs in the pan, leaving the skin mostly exposed. Bring the liquid to a boil. Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers at least 165 degrees. Serve over rice and garnish with oregano.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Even during a pandemic, schedules don’t often allow for the long, slow cooking times required for braising large cuts of meat. But there are smaller cuts you can braise, like chicken thighs, which cook in a relatively short amount of time and still give you those appealing, hearty flavors. Saute a base of onion and garlic, and stir in fresh oregano, honey, sherry vinegar, white wine, and orange juice. Green olives, like large and fruity Castelvetrano from Sicily, add a touch of umami (or use another meaty, green olive). Brown the thighs briefly in a large Dutch oven, working in batches, if necessary, and then nestle them into the braising liquid. The key to serving perfectly browned and crispy chicken skin is to submerge the bones and most of the meat on the thighs, but not the skin. You don't need to cover the pot. The minimum cooking temperature for poultry is 165 degrees, but these thighs will likely surpass that. Dark meat cooked in liquid can easily go as high as 185 degrees, and actually fare better as it approaches the falling-off-the-bone stage of cooking. Spoon the braising liquid over rice and garnish with the orange slices -- they're now spoon tender -- then set the crispy-skinned thighs on top.

2tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin intact
Salt and pepper, to taste
1medium onion, sliced
3cloves garlic, chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2tablespoons honey
2tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1cup white wine
Grated rind and juice of 2 Navel oranges
1 Navel orange, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
1cup large green olives, such as Castelvetrano, pitted and halved
Extra sprigs of fresh oregano (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

2. In a large, wide, flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the oil. Sprinkle the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, place 4 thighs in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until well browned. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining thighs in the same way.

3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the oregano, honey, vinegar, wine, orange rind and juice, and the orange slices. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the olives, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Nestle the thighs in the pan, leaving the skin mostly exposed. Bring the liquid to a boil. Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers at least 165 degrees. Serve over rice and garnish with oregano.Karoline Boehm Goodnick