Braised Chicken Thighs with Apples and Wild Rice


Erick Harcey, one of Minneapolis’ most celebrated chefs, serves this braised chicken with his supreme riff on Rice-A-Roni. Tart Granny Smith apples and cider vinegar not only tenderize the chicken thighs but also act as the base for the incredible sauce. Slideshow: More Chicken Thigh Recipes 

Braised Chicken Thighs with Apples and Wild Rice
Photo: Christopher Testani
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 4 ounces vermicelli, broken into 1 / 2 -inch pieces

  • 4 shallots, minced 

  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided

  • 9 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided

  • 2 cups wild rice (12 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 6 tablespoons minced chives, divided

  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme, divided

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, 2 apples cored and diced, 1 apple halved, cored, and thinly sliced

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula

  • 2 cups lightly packed watercress

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons oil over moderate heat. Add vermicelli and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer vermicelli to a bowl. Add minced shallots and half of garlic to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vermicelli, 6 cups broth, wild rice, and bouillon, and bring to a boil over high. Cover and simmer over low heat until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons chives, parsley, and 1 tablespoon thyme; season with salt and pepper.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until shimmering. Add half of chicken to skillet, skin side down, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

  3. Add diced apples, remaining half of garlic, and sliced shallots to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 3 cups broth, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then nestle chicken in sauce, skin side up. Transfer skillet to preheated oven, and braise until chicken is cooked through and very tender, about 45 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven and place chicken thighs on a plate. Set skillet with sauce over moderate heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Whisk in cream and remaining 3 tablespoons butter until incorporated. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons chives and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Return chicken, skin side up, to sauce.

  5. In a medium bowl, toss together arugula, watercress, sliced apple, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to plate; serve with sauce, salad, and wild rice.

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