If you want a comforting, falling-off-the-bone meat dish without babysitting a roast all day, might we suggest the humble chicken thigh? Braising or pan-roasting it results in that same decadence in a fraction of the time. The trick for this recipe is to let the skin get really crispy in the initial browning phase and then let it finish roasting skin side up, just barely nestled in the sautéed vegetables, stock, and wine—not submerged. This way the meat will stay tender while the skin will get crackly-crispety-crunchety (these are technical terms, you understand). It’s the best of both worlds.
1. Season the chicken thighs generously with kosher salt and let sit for about 30 minutes, to come to room temperature. Then heat a wide oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and once it’s preheated, sear the chicken thighs, starting skin side down, and cook until deep golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes on each side, then set aside.
2. Using the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the onions, thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt. Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Reduce the heat to low and carefully add the wine, scraping up the brown bits and deglazing the bottom of the pan. Once that cooks for a few minutes, add the stock. Return the heat to medium and let it come to a strong simmer.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Turn off the burner and set the chicken thighs on top of the onion and mushroom mixture. The chicken thighs shouldn’t be submerged, the skin should be sitting above the juice—this will allow it to stay crispy in the oven.
4. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the skillet to the middle rack and let it cook for about 45 minutes, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Originally featured in A Cozy Winter Dinner Menu