Braised Chicken Thighs with Spinach and White Beans is a comforting autumn dish that is easy to pull together any day of the week.
The first taste of Fall arrived this morning. 62 degrees with the highs only getting to the mid-70s sometime this afternoon. I am not complaining one little bit. After several weeks of 90 degree weather every day this is a much needed respite from the scorching summer heat. And with cooler temperatures, my mind turns to warmer more comforting food. This is braising weather.
What is braising?
Braising basically means simmering meat and/or veggies in liquid for a long period of time. The liquid should only cover about half of the contents of the pot so that you aren’t boiling your dinner but the liquid helps the meat stay nice and juicy. Pot roast is a classic braised dish as well as osso bucco (which I have a fabulous version of here using beef shanks instead of veal). Chicken thighs are also fantastic braised and they cook up quick enough for an easy weeknight meal.
How to Braise Chicken Thighs
So how do you braise? You can do it a couple of ways. In the oven (on a low temp like 325 degrees) or on the stovetop, browning the chicken before putting it all back in the pot. I’ve cooked this recipe on the stove but you could easily pop this in the oven instead. Chicken thighs take 30-40 minutes depending on the size. Chicken thighs sometimes give off quite a bit of drippings so you may need to drain the beans with a slotted spoon when serving. Make sure to have some crusty bread to sop up the liquid.
What do I braise in?
Braising requires a deep heavy pot. A dutch oven or a deep cast iron skillet is the best. A stainless steel braising dish with a heavy bottom will work great too. Lodge Cast Iron makes a cast iron braiser that is perfect for this dish (and for frying chicken!).
Once you’ve got braising under your belt you can make so many different variations on the braising theme! Here are a few suggestions:
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 T butter
- 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
- 1 t. each rosemary and thyme
- 2 15 oz cans white beans or 1/2lb dry white beans, cooked
- 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
- salt and pepper
- In a large dutch oven heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place skin side down in hot dutch oven. Brown on both sides and remove from the pot, set aside.
- Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the wine, making sure to scrap all of the brown bits off the bottom ( they are delicious!)
- Add in the beans, spinach, rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper to the pot. Nestle the chicken thighs skin side up in to the pan and add enough water ( or chicken broth) to cover 2/3 of the chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat. Cook until the chicken pieces are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!