Après Apple Picking Recipe: Cider Braised Chicken Thighs

    Apple picking is a blast until you realize that you have five bushels of fruit, three gallons of cider, and no idea what you’re going to do with the lot. Here’s a recipe for Apple Cider Braised Chicken Thighs served over sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Caraway to help you lighten the load.

    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
    1¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
    1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
    4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
    1 yellow onion, sliced thin
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    3 sprigs thyme
    1 cup apple cider
    1 cup low sodium chicken stock
    4 cups brussels sprouts
    2 tablespoons butter
    ¼ cup dried cranberries
    ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
    2 firm, sweet apples (honeycrisp works great), peeled and cut into large 1-inch chunks
    ½ cup apple cider

    In a shallow baking dish, whisk together the flour, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Dredge the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour then move them to a plate. Reserve the excess seasoned flour.

    Preheat an oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Set large braising pot, that has a tight fitting lid, over medium-high heat and add in half of the canola oil. Once the oil is hot, gently arrange half of the chicken thighs in the pot and allow them to brown for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the browned chicken to a medium bowl and repeat the process with the remaining canola oil and chicken thighs. Transfer the thighs to the medium bowl with the others.

    Add the sliced onion to the braising pot with any residual oil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the minced garlic, Dijon mustard, and thyme. Stir until the mustard is well incorporated.

    Place the seasoned flour in a large measuring cup and slowly whisk in the apple cider and chicken stock. Stir this liquid into the onion mixture then nestle the chicken pieces into the pot so the liquid comes about halfway up the side of each thigh. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 35 minutes.

    Meanwhile, slice the bottom stem from each brussels sprout and cut each in half. Turn the sprouts onto their flat sides and slice them as thin as possible so they are essentially shredded. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the shredded brussels sprouts and cook them for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle in the dried cranberries, caraway seeds, and diced apples. Pour in the apple cider and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the apples are just tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season to taste with the remaining salt and pepper.

    Remove the braising pot from the oven and gently remove the chicken pieces to a plate; cover with foil. Set the pot of sauce over medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened.

    To serve – Spoon the cabbage mixture on a plate or in a shallow bowl, top with a chicken thigh, then ladle the sauce and sliced onions over the chicken.

    Kerry Stanton
    Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald.“I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”




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