There’s something so classic and comforting about the combination of wine, onions, and mushrooms. Add the richness of chicken thighs and some tangy whole-grain mustard, and you have a deliciously satisfying meal that warms the tummy and soul. I can see this meal on a French table with wine and a green salad, a crusty baguette waiting to sop up the rich, brown sauce. Of course, my family made do without the bread for this meal; a pillowy spoonful of mashed cauliflower was the perfect accompaniment for all that sauce, and added an extra dose of veggie love.
It all starts with those juicy little chicken thighs. It wasn’t long ago that I thought boneless, skinless chicken breasts were the only meat to eat. Every “healthy” recipe pushes them. They’re so over-used, in fact, you get tired of typing out “boneless, skinless chicken breast” and start abbreviating to “BSCB”. A sure sign of too much familiarity. And yet I continued to use them to the exclusion of the rest of the bird, all in the name of good health.
But every time I would serve a whole chicken, I would struggle with what to do with all that dark meat. One thing you have to understand about me – I hate to throw away food. So I started researching dark meat, and was shocked by what I found. Not only is dark meat only slightly higher in calories than white meat, it’s also significantly richer in an array of different nutrients. And we must remind ourselves that a little fat isn’t a bad thing – many vitamins are fat-soluble only, which means you have to eat them with some fat or your body won’t reap the benefits. What’s more, the extra fat in the dark meat will fill you up faster and keep your body satisfied longer, so you eat less overall. And of course, it brings more flavor to the dish than white meat ever will.
Admittedly, you’ll probably do yourself a favor by removing the skin some of the time. But even chicken skin isn’t as bad as it’s rumored to be. While there is some saturated fat, the majority is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid (the kind found in olive oil that’s considered heart-healthy). So it’s okay to leave it on, too. You can always serve light side dishes to balance the richness of your meal. Now you see why I skipped the bread!
So yeah … you can eat bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Is your mind blown yet? I know mine is. Just look at that crispy browned skin, simmering in a gravy of caramelized onions, earthy mushrooms and oaky white wine. Put your tongue back in your mouth and get cooking! This recipe is pretty straight-forward, so just dive in.
- 6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 6 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped and woody stems discarded
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup Chardonnay
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup flour
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs, then dredge in the flour, shaking off excess.
- Heat the oil in a large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, working in batches to avoid crowding. Sear on each side until browned. Set the chicken to rest on a plate.
- Add the onion and mushrooms to the same pot and saute until onions begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the wine, chicken stock, and mustard to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced somewhat.
- Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
- Remove chicken and cover loosely with foil. Return pot to the stove and simmer uncovered, over medium heat, until sauce has reduced and thickened to desired consistency.
- Plate the chicken. Spoon the sauce, onions, and mushrooms over the top. Enjoy!
Adapted from this recipe at The Candid Appetite.