If you love using your Dutch oven to make comforting, slow-cooked recipes during the cold winter months, you’ll be glad to know you can also use it for lighter, spring-inspired dishes like this Braised Chicken with Spring Vegetables.
This one pot meal is easily adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand. You can use chicken breasts or leg quarters instead of the thighs – be sure to use bone-in, skin-on pieces to prevent the meat from drying out. Substitute bacon for the pancetta, if you prefer. Swap out the thyme for fresh rosemary or oregano. Adding chopped fennel to the vegetables would bring a welcome anise flavor to this dish.
This recipe calls for braising the chicken thighs – which means you first brown the meat in a small amount of fat (in this case olive oil and the rendered pancetta fat) and finish cooking the meat in a tightly sealed pot with a small amount of liquid. You don’t want the meat to be completely submerged in the liquid, otherwise the skin you worked so hard to brown won’t stay crisp. An important component of a great dish is not only flavor but also texture so a crispy skin is key. Depending on the size of your chicken thighs, you may need to use slightly less liquid than the recipe calls for.
A good quality Dutch oven like Le Creuset or Staub are perfect for this recipe because of their excellent heat retention, even heat distribution, tight fitting lids and their ability to go straight from the stove top to the table.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 14-oz cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 16 baby carrots
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to remove the chill. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is turning brown and getting crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add chicken to the pan, skin-side down, in a single even layer and sear until the skin turns golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and add the garlic cloves to the pan. Cook until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, stirring the garlic occasionally to prevent burning. Remove the chicken and garlic from the pan.
- Add the chicken broth to the pan; using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Add the wine and the next 4 ingredients (through the carrots) and stir. Add the chicken and pancetta back to the pan; bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken and vegetables from the pan, leaving the cooking liquid in the pan.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add flour mixture to the cooking liquid and stir 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken and vegetables back to the pan. Stir in the peas and cook 2-3 minutes or until the peas are thawed.
- Garnish with lemon zest and parley just before serving.