Chicken Thighs with Maple Cider Vinegar Glaze
My brother, the chef, can make some pretty fancy food. He’s got two Michelin stars under his belt, oversees the kitchens of nine restaurants, and has dined in some of the world’s most famous eateries. Yet if you go to his house for dinner, don’t expect poached lobster or black truffles. More likely, it’s going to be roast chicken on the menu, done simply and carved like the pro that he is. The guy loves his chicken… and vegetarians notwithstanding…so do the rest of us.
All of this is why I was pretty psyched when a copy of a new book by Stacie Billis showed up at my door called Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. It feels like the ideal read for right now, when I’m hunkered down at home craving comforting meals.
Stacie is a mom of two, a food writer, and co-host of the podcast “Didn’t I Just Feed You.” She covers all the bases in her new book, with 50 recipes that span the flavors of the globe and tons of tips on cooking every cut of chicken.
The book is organized according to cooking method. I plucked the recipe for Chicken Thighs with Maple-Cider Vinegar Glaze from the “In an Oven” chapter. It’s a simple recipe that relies on everyday ingredients, but results in tender chicken lacquered in an addictively tangy sauce. The slaw on the side, with just four ingredients, can be prepped in the few minutes the chicken rests once it’s out of the oven. Love that!
I also love that the book does a deep dive into how to properly roast and carve a chicken. It’s a handy skill to know and one that every home cook … and every chef…should have in their back pocket.
Chicken Thighs with Maple-Cider Vinegar Glaze and Fennel-Apple Slaw
I start this dish by cooking chicken thighs using a technique that you can use for so many recipes, not just this one. But still: start by making this recipe as is. If you don’t love the glaze, I at least guarantee that you’ll make chicken thighs this way forever more. (But seriously, if you don’t love the glaze, hit me up on social media and let’s talk. I’m here to help.)
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (from about 3 shallots)
FOR THE SLAW
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and cored
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, halved and cored
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from about 1 juicy lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt
If you have time, remove the chicken from your refrigerator up to 30 minutes before cooking. When ready to cook, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it with the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper, evenly dividing them between both sides of all the thighs.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. As soon as the foam subsides, add the chicken skin side down, making sure to press it as flat as possible onto the hot surface. Cook for 15 minutes, untouched, then flip and cook for another 15 minutes, untouched.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the maple syrup and cook until it just begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. (If the glaze takes fewer than 2 minutes to bubble, reduce the heat.) Add the vinegar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Continue to simmer the glaze on low for about 15 minutes, until it reduces to roughly 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When the chicken is done cooking, transfer it to a plate. Drain the excess fat from the skillet and return to the stove over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 min- utes. Add the glaze to the skillet and use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up the crispy bits. Cook for about 1 minute before returning the chicken to the skillet, skin side up, along with any accumulated juices.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes longer. During the last minute of cooking, spoon the glaze over the thighs to lightly lacquer the skin. Turn the heat off and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
MAKE THE SLAW: While the chicken rests, thinly slice the fennel and apple. Add both to a medium bowl and toss with the lemon juice, oil, and a pinch of salt, or to taste. Serve the chicken with more glaze spooned over the top and slaw on the side.
Recipe and photos reprinted with permission