Made from economical chicken thighs and a few pantry items, braised Italian chicken thighs is a basic weeknight recipe in my kitchen. Healthy comfort food made easy.
Pick up chicken thighs and mushrooms at the store. From your pantry, use canned tomatoes and artichoke hearts, olive oil, garlic and onions. Fresh herbs are nice as a garnish, but you can use dried herbs for the cooking. A dried Italian blend is nice, but you can use basil, oregano, even thyme or rosemary.
What is Braising?
Braising is a classic, two step method of cooking. Sear or brown for good color, then simmer with a liquid for flavor and tenderness. Part of the time is hands off cooking, so you can get the rest of the meal ready. Cook some noodles or rice and toss a salad to balance things out, or serve them alone in a shallow bowl with the juices and veggies for a low-carb or Paleo dinner.
Buying Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs come large and small. It depends on what is at the store. You'll have to eye it. If I buy 4 large at 2 pounds it will serve 3-4; 1 for me and 2 for my husband and an extra for a lunch. If you're used to chicken breasts please try thighs. The are tender and moist.
Choose a pan wide enough that you can get all of the chicken thighs in a single layer and deep enough that you can add the rest of the ingredients without it bubbling over. You will also need a tight fitting lid.
The photo above is a 3 ½ quart Le Creuset brasier. A 5 ½ quart Le Creuset Dutch oven works too. It's a handy pan that you can do a lot more with than just this recipe because it is wide.
Start by browning chicken thighs, skin side down, until golden. Remove from the pan. Sauté onion and garlic, then add artichoke hearts. Cook for a few minutes, then add tomatoes, mushrooms, broth and wine (if using) and herbs. Add chicken back into pan, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.
Choose either whole wheat noodles, brown rice noodles for a gluten-free option (this GF pasta is terrific), or zucchini noodles. For directions on how to make zucchini noodles, read this post. Another option - try combining half pasta noodles with half zucchini noodles.
Leftovers make a nice lunch the next day. Place chicken in an airtight container and top with the vegetables and sauce, it will keep for 3 days.
For Paleo or Whole30, swap broth for wine and skip the cheese. For low histamine, skip the tomatoes and swap broth for wine, and no cheese.
More Chicken Recipes
- For another great chicken thigh recipe try my easy baked teriyaki version.
- If your family loves Italian-inspired meals, try this reader favorite, Easy Chicken Parmesan.
Italian Braised Chicken Thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ½ pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped ¾ cup
- 6 ounces quartered canned artichoke hearts about half a can, drained
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried herbs Italian blend, oregano, or basil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup chicken broth low sodium
- ½ cup red wine optional, or use more broth
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces small mushrooms quartered
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley or oregano optional
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan optional, skip for dairy-free
- Trim excess fat and skin from chicken thighs. Season chicken with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Heat olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the chicken flat in a single layer over medium heat. Use a 5 ½ quart Dutch oven, 3 ½ quart brasier, or 3-4 quart saute pan. Add the chicken skin side down and cook until the skin has a golden crust, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate or rimmed baking pan.
- Drain excess chicken fat but leave a little. Add onion to the pan. You should hear a light sizzle when the onion hits the surface. Cook onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down if needed so the onion does not burn. Add the artichokes hearts, garlic, dried herbs, and red pepper and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and broth and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir to mix them in. Nestle the chicken thighs into the vegetables and add the mushrooms. Turn the heat up until the pan is bubbling. Place the lid on the pan, turn heat to low and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°, 18-20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and Parmesan.