If you’ve been to my house for dinner on more than one occasion, there is a seriously high chance you have had braised chicken thighs. Slow-cooking chicken thighs is one of the first things I picked up in the Beauty & Essex kitchen because they used the pulled meat in a variety of applications. Once I got the hang of it, this dish became a staple in my household for three obvious reasons 1. they are cheap 2. they are EASY!!! and 3. they are so versatile depending on what mood you’re in. I’ve never been a slow-cooker aficionado, but this is my idea of “set it and forget.”
Here’s how it goes. Place your chicken thighs in a glass casserole dish. I would estimate about 1 lb. per person but we love having leftovers in my house so I usually make about 5/6 pounds each time. Season thoroughly – sometimes I use my own mixture of salt, pepper and garlic powder. If I’m going latin with the flavoring, I love using Adobo seasoning. When I’m going Indian with it, my best friend’s mom makes this homemade peanut chutney powder that is bonkers good. Whatever direction you are taking this dish, the base seasoning will ensure a flavorful outcome. **When I first got out of culinary school, people would always ask me what I learned. I cannot emphasize this enough when I say that the most important thing is to season your food. SALT + PEPPER people. They are your friends.*** After the chicken is seasoned, place it under the BROILER for approximately 20 minutes. I like the tops of my thighs to be a bit charred (as seen above) because I love textural differences in food. If you don’t want the crunchy bits, 10-15 minutes will be best.
Remove the chicken from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees. (Depending on how fatty your thighs are, you may want to strain some of the fat from your casserole dish before proceeding). Now we’re back to #3. The reason why this dish is titled “Chicken Thighs One Million Ways” is because you have complete creative control over the direction of the flavor of this dish. When I first started making this, I exclusively used my boss’s Rattler barbecue sauce, but then I realized that I could use any sauce of my choosing and transform the exact same dish into something entirely different. I add about one cup of sauce/marinade to the broiled chicken, mix well, cover with tin foil and cook in the 250 degree oven for 3 hours. THAT’S IT!!!
For reference, here are some of my favorite sauce/marinades to use:
- We Rub You – Spicy Korean Marinade
- Haven’s Kitchen – Nutty Lemongrass OR Chimichurri
- Maya Kadima – Madra Curry
- Frontera – Fajita Simmer Sauce with Chipotle + Lime
- Sweet Baby Ray’s – Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce