Deliciously different, this rustic Chicken Thighs with Apples and Bacon is easy enough for weeknights, but also special enough for company.
I promised a savoury apple dish earlier in the week and I'm so excited to share this one with you. This chicken dish is deliciously different and easy enough to make on weeknights. The combination of chicken thighs with apples and bacon is a winner!
I've developed a new love of chicken thighs, particularly skin-on/bone-in ones. First, they're economical. Always good. Secondly, they're dark meat, which has lots of flavour and is always moist. Finally, the skin adds such great flavour to dishes and crisps up so perfectly.
The only down-side of bone-in is that they take longer to cook through. I give them a quick trip to the oven while the sauce is cooking to deal with that part. If you prefer to use boneless thighs, that may not be necessary. Chicken breasts (bone-in or boneless) are thick, so they should probably go in the oven for a bit. If you cut them up, again, the oven may not be necessary and you could just simmer them in your sauce to finish cooking.
Cook's Notes for Chicken Thighs with Apples and Bacon
I used Empire apples for my dish, with the skin on. I love the bit of colour and I think leaving the skin on helps the apples to stay together and not become apple sauce in your dish. You can use apple cider or plain old apple juice for the dish. I also used applewood smoked bacon here, in keeping with the apple theme, but any bacon or pancetta will work. Just remember that the bacon will add a bit of salt to the dish, so keep that in mind when salting. That said, I think some added salt is probably necessary to balance the sweetness of the apples and apple juice. Freshly ground pepper is nice as well.
I served this with mashed potatoes, but rice or pasta would also be nice.
Rustic Chicken with Apples and Bacon
- 6 chicken thighs bone-in/skin on
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or canola or other neutral oil
- 2 slices bacon diced (applewood smoked is nice!)
- 1/2 cup onion diced, about 1/2 medium onion
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup apple juice or cider
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups apples thinly sliced, about 2 un-peeled apples, cored, quartered and sliced
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme or Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. wateror mix with reserved pan drippings for a bit of extra flavour
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375° F. and line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup!). Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Dry chicken thighs well and sprinkle skin with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, place thighs, skin side down in to the oil and allow to cook until golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for a few minutes. Remove chicken to the prepared baking sheet and place in to the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes. (*Watch skin as chicken cooks in the oven and cover loosely with a piece of foil if it starts to brown too much).
- Meanwhile, remove the oil and drippings from the pan and discard. Cook the bacon in the same skillet over medium-high heat until starting to brown. Add the onions and cook until the bacon is crisp and the onions are lightly browned. Add the white wine and allow to cook until the alcohol smell burns off (1-2 minutes). Add the apple juice, chicken stock, apples and thyme. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until apples soften. Add the cream and dijon to the sauce and stir to combine. Add a bit of the cornstarch/water mixture a bit at a time until sauce thickens to your liking. Taste and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Remove chicken from oven and check for doneness (if you have a thermometer, should be about 165° F.). Otherwise, cut in to one and check. Juices should run clear and the meat should not be pink near the bone. If necessary, return to the oven for longer while you keep your sauce warm over low heat. Place chicken on a large serving plate. Spoon sauce around chicken and serve. This chicken is nice with mashed potatoes or rice.