These tender braised chicken thighs are seared until golden, then gently cooked in a savory sauce of vermouth, lemon, and herbs de Provence. The chicken is finished with briny olives and salty prosciutto. It’s southern French cooking at its finest.
Adapted from Wini Moranville | Everyday French Cooking | Harvard Common Press, 2022
The One is an olive fanatic. I’ve seen him stand motionless in front of an olive bar, transfixed by all the colors, shapes, and sizes. (I remember when he used to look at me that way.)
For 30 years, he’s tried to furtively slip olives into just about everything–from breakfast to snacks. So it’s no surprise this was a winner. And for good reason: You get your chicken hit plus a slap of citrus and a burst of meaty umami from the olives. And the prosciutto? Little juliennes of crunchiness on top.
Moranville suggests, if possible, buying a mix of olives, including France’s wrinkly-skinned Nyons olives. And a few green olives wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Why our testers loved this
There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers gobbled this up. They found it to be moist and flavorful and loved the briny punch that the olives added to the dish. Linda Pacchiano found that “the steps were short and easy, and the result was succulent chicken thighs with a complementary and highly flavorful sauce.“
Lisa C. joined in. “We fell in love with the juicy chicken thighs with a complex sauce, bright from the lemon zest and juice, briny from the olives, with a hint of saltiness from the pancetta.”
Notes on ingredients
- Bone-in chicken thighs–Using thighs ensures moist, juicy chicken that can withstand being cooked to a higher temperature. You could also use bone-in chicken breasts here, but you’ll need to watch the cooking time and pull it from the oven when the chicken reaches 165°F to avoid dry, overcooked chicken.
- Vermouth–Use dry white vermouth, such as Noilly Prat. Definitely don’t use sweet red vermouth.
- Olives–You can use any type of imported black olive here, such as Niçoise or kalamata.
- Prosciutto–You can substitute chopped pancetta if you prefer.
How to make this recipe
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Brown the chicken in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain off most of the fat from the Dutch oven.
- Sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining chicken fat until softened.
- Pour in the vermouth.
- Add the chicken stock. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup.
- Add the herbes de Provence, lemon juice, and zest. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, skin-side up. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and add the olives and prosciutto. Bake uncovered until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170°F (77°C). Sprinkle with additional lemon zest and serve.
What is braising?
Braising is a cooking technique that involves searing meat until browned, then gently cooking it in liquid on the stovetop or in the oven. It’s an easy, one-pot cooking method that results in tender meat and a flavorful sauce.
What should I serve with these braised chicken thighs?
You’re going to want something to sop up all that delicious braising liquid. Mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, or crusty bread are all good choices. A simple side salad also pairs nicely with this comforting braised chicken thigh recipe.
Can I make this without alcohol?
Yes, absolutely. You can use extra chicken stock in place of the vermouth in this recipe.
Can I make this with boneless chicken thighs?
We recommend sticking with bone-in chicken pieces when braising. The bones help to keep the meat tender, add flavor to the dish, and, as a result, you’re less likely to have dry, overcooked chicken.
- Choose similar-size chicken thighs so that they cook through at the same time.
- Pat your chicken dry before searing to allow the skin to become as crispy as possible.
- If your chicken is fully cooked after the initial baking time, simply stir in the olives and pancetta, and let it sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to warm through.
- Leftover chicken can be stored with some braising liquid in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.
- This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
More great braised chicken recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Braised Chicken Thighs
This rustic, French-style braised chicken is made with bone-in chicken thighs, olives, lemon, and a vermouth-infused sauce. It’s a comforting one-pot meal.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the chicken browns too quickly).
Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain off all but a sheen of fat from the Dutch oven.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring,until the onion is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the vermouth and chicken broth, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the Dutch oven to the heat and bring to a boil; boil, stirring with a wire whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by about 1/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the herbes de Provence, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Return the chicken to the Dutch oven; cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
Uncover; add the olives and sprinkle the prosciutto on top of the chicken. Re-cover, return to the oven, and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 180°F (82°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Divvy the chicken, olives, and prosciutto bits among four shallow bowls, pour a spoonful of sauce over each, sprinkle with lemon zest, and serve.
- Size matters–Choose similar-size chicken thighs so that they cook through at the same time.
- Dry your chicken–Pat your chicken dry before searing to allow the skin to become as crispy as possible.
- Cooking time note–If your chicken is fully cooked after the initial baking time, simply stir in the olives and pancetta, and let it sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to warm through.
- Storage–Leftover chicken can be stored with some braising liquid in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Serving: 2thighsCalories: 792kcal (40%)Carbohydrates: 7g (2%)Protein: 49g (98%)Fat: 61g (94%)Saturated Fat: 15g (94%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 288mg (96%)Sodium: 553mg (24%)Potassium: 692mg (20%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 306IU (6%)Vitamin C: 9mg (11%)Calcium: 49mg (5%)Iron: 3mg (17%)
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Recipe © 2022 Wini Moranville. Photos © 2022 David Leite. Photo © 2022 Richard Swearinger. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.