Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs


"I grew up on chicken thighs," says Top Chef all-star Tre Wilcox. "These days I season them with crushed red pepper and star anise and braise them in a sauce with tomatoes and red wine." More Recipes for Chicken Thighs

Spice-rubbed chicken thighs
Photo: © Petrina Tinslay
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds

  • 1/4 star anise pod

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 8 meaty chicken thighs

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced

  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 3 oregano sprigs

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • Chopped parsley and chives, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small skillet, toast the coriander, star anise, cracked peppercorns and crushed red pepper over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool; pulse until coarsely ground. Add the salt. Rub the spices all over the chicken.

  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until deep golden, 10 minutes. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan, skin side up. Pour off most of the oil from the skillet and add the onion and leek. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme and oregano and cook until the tomatoes just begin to break down, 3 minutes. Add the red wine and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of water and pour the mixture into the roasting pan.

  3. Cover the pan with foil and braise the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour, until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Strain the sauce into a saucepan. Boil until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and honey; keep warm.

  4. Preheat the broiler. Return the chicken to the roasting pan, skin side up, and broil 8 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Sprinkle with the parsley and chives. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Suggested Pairing

Fruit-forward Côtes-du-Rhône.

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