Tender juicy chicken thighs braised with herbs and spices for delightfully crispy skin and simmered with red wine, walnuts, fresh cranberries and herbs for a rich, tart sauce perfect for the holidays.
- 4 pounds (about 6 to 7 chicken thighs) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup walnuts, whole, raw
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- 3 cloves garlic
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the chicken thighs from package and pat dry with paper towels.
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, resting on the plate skin side up. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
- Heat olive oil in a deep sided, oven safe sauté pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Once oil is shiny and hot, braise the chicken thighs skin side down until skin is golden brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn thighs over and let braise on the other side for 2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat. Transfer chicken thighs to a plate momentarily. Carefully remove about ½ of the grease from the pan and transfer the thighs back to the pan, skin side up.
- Turn the pan to medium heat and deglaze the pan with red wine. Add the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, unsalted butter to the sauce. Sprinkle walnuts, cranberries, and garlic around the pan between the chicken thighs.
- Place the pan in the oven and finish cooking at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes.
After cooking the sauce may still have a layer of oil/fat from the continued cooking process. To remove this fat, remove the chicken thighs from the pan and lightly place a piece of bread on top of the sauce. Flip over and place over another part of the pan. Repeat until the bread begins to soak up the sauce.
If you prefer a thicker, gravy style sauce: stir 2 teaspoons of corn starch into 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water. With the sauce simmering on low heat, slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture and whisk together for 1 to 2 minutes until it begins to thicken.