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Braised Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Chestnuts

Braised Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Chestnuts

4, plus leftover chicken for lunch Servings

Keep the heat on low after you stir in the mustard—the sauce could break unattractively if it boils.


  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1¼ lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 leeks, sliced into ½” rings
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup cooked chestnuts, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Recipe Preparation

  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

  • Reduce heat to medium, add leeks to skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. stock and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in chestnuts and remaining stock and return chicken to skillet. Simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 10–15 minutes. Reserve 1 chicken thigh for tomorrow’s lunch.

  • Stir mustard into sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 330 Fat (g) 10 Saturated Fat (g) 2 Cholesterol (mg) 120 Carbohydrates (g) 29 Dietary Fiber (g) 3 Total Sugars (g) 8 Protein (g) 30 Sodium (mg)460Reviews Section

One Chap's Pantry

2 Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skinless
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
1 small Yellow Onion, diced (Vidalia ideally)
1 1/2 dozen Table Mushrooms, quartered
1 yellow Bell Pepper, diced
6 cloves Garlic, slivered
1 Corn on the Cob, cut in half
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
4 Tbsp Butter, divided in sixteen pieces
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
1/2 tsp Cumin, ground
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed, ground
1/4 tsp Fennel Seed, crushed
1/4 tsp dried Oregano, crushed
Salt to taste

  • Prepare Coals or Preheat Oven to 350F. If you have the luxury to be camping and cooking over a fire, you’ll want to create an area of charred wood–like a bed of coals. You could also use charcoal in a grill. You should know that on open fires, it is difficult to gauge the temperature–so be vigilant and have tongs ready to move your goods.
  • Cut four pieces of Aluminum Foil AT LEAST 1 foot by 1 1/2 feet. I recommend getting the extra-wide Aluminum Foil and cutting 4 squares.
  • Season the Chicken pieces with Salt and Pepper.
  • On two of the sheets of Aluminum foil, place on each: one Thigh, one Breast, one half of the Corn.
  • Mix the Mushrooms, Peppers, Butter, and Spices together and divide among the two Squares, keeping everything in the center in a mound.
  • Put a Sprig of Rosemary in each.
  • For each pouch, carefully pull two sides together and fold the seam together. Then fold and roll each side remaining. I recommend then placing in a second piece of Aluminum foil and repeating – helps prevent spillage and tares.
  • Roast for about an hour, making sure to heat evenly. If using an oven, place the Pouches on a baking sheet.

Makes 2 pouches (2 servings)

NOTES: So this takes me back to when I was a Boy Scout in troops 354 and 747 in Conyers. We used to make some variation of this on a camping trip–usually with skin-on chicken and a bag of mixed veggies. Sometimes we would add fresh veggies and potatoes, and rarely any herbs or spices outside of Seasoned Salt. This is my version with real Spices, fresh Rosemary, and Mushrooms instead of Potatoes. The vegetables you choose to use are up to you, and limited only by how many they fit inside a pouch. If you use Potatoes, I would suggest adding more salt and pepper.

It is memories of the times like camping that really stand out to me. Looking back, most of my friends from my later troop are very distant now–probably because we’ve moved on geographically, but also because they’re much more conservative than I am–me being gay probably doesn’t help as a result. Regardless, I dedicate this to those folks.

Braised chicken thighs with leeks and chestnuts

Leeks, chestnuts, and whole grain mustard seriously up the game on braised chicken thighs.

Dorothy Parker famously said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” If I’m being honest, that’s sometimes how I feel about cooking. I like having cooked – sitting down to something I’ve made, sharing it with family and with friends. And most of the time, I enjoy the process of getting to that point. But not always.

The times when I don’t love it are usually when cooking is way down at the bottom of a daunting to-do list and, by necessity, we are in the food-as-fuel mode, and eating is just one more thing to check off the list. Other times, I may be in the mood to cook, but what I’m in the mood to eat doesn’t match up with either ingredients readily available or time needed to prepare it. And sometimes, since I’m being honest, I just don’t feel like cooking.

But when I do feel like cooking, everything about it reminds me why I love it. Such was the case this past Sunday. A major televised sportsball tournament held much of the country in its thrall, but not in my kitchen. I was streaming a jazz station out of Newark, New Jersey. There was enough task lighting going to see what I was doing without interfering with a couple of tealights I had burning. And most important, I had time for a leisurely prep.

I will never be a restaurant prep cook. Ever. You see them going at it, their hands a blur, chopchopchopchopchop. Yeah, that’s not me. But I love doing prep work, getting everything organized, figuring out what has to be ready before I light one fire under a pan and what I can prep while something else is cooking. Mise en place is probably as close to zen as I get. It’s a chess player looking five moves ahead.

Prep work is also as intimate as you get with food. Once it hits the pan, you stir, you season, you taste, you adjust. But when you’re prepping, you’re handling the raw ingredients. Peeling, slicing, chopping, mincing, dredging.

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

This was brought home to me Sunday as I trimmed some leeks, cut the white and pale green pieces lengthwise and then sliced them into half moons. Leeks are mild-flavored relatives of onions every time I cook with them, I realize that I don’t do it often enough. They’re also beautiful, putting me in mind of vintage French culinary posters. What got me Sunday, though, was the fragrance. I didn’t notice it as first – they are quite mild, after all. But as the bowl of freshly cut half moons sat there while I continued my prep work, their sweet, not-quite-oniony aroma blossomed, filling the kitchen. There was something else to it too, a grassy garden note that more assertive onions just don’t have.

This – and moments like this – remind me why I love to cook. And why I love having cooked. Sitting down to this meal of chicken thighs braised with leeks, chestnuts and whole grain mustard really was pretty perfect.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Leeks and Chestnuts
Serves 4

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 1/2 pound each
salt and freshly ground pepper
flour for dredging the chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/3-inch half moons
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock or store-bought, reduced-sodium broth
1/2 cup dry white wine [editor's note: can substitute cooking wine]
1 cup cooked chestnuts, quartered (see Kitchen Notes)
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard (can substitute Dijon)
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a large, deep lidded sauté pan or skillet over medium-high flame. Add thighs to skillet skin side down and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn, reduce heat to medium and brown on the other side about 4 minutes. Transfer thighs to plate.

2. Add leeks to pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, stirring frequently to avoid browning or burning, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear a hole in the middle of the pan and add garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 45 seconds or so. Add broth and wine to pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add chestnuts to pan, stirring to combine everything, and return thighs to pan, along with any accumulated juices. Raise heat to bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover pan. Simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to a plate and stir mustard into leeks mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings. Return chicken to pan and let everything simmer together to combine flavors, about 2 minutes. To serve, plate chicken thighs and spoon leeks and chestnuts over them.

Kitchen Notes

Finding chestnuts. It’s not as easy as you think. Turns out most stores treat them as seasonal, stocking them from around Thanksgiving to Christmas. In Chicago, I found them at Treasure Island, a gem of a local European supermarket chain. You most likely will find them in vacuum-packed pouches. A 5- or 6-ounce pouch will produce the needed 1 cup of hopped chestnuts. Do try to find them – their soft/chewy/meaty nuttiness adds great flavor and makes the dish a robust, stick-to-your-ribs meal. If you can’t find them, substitute pecans. They’re crunchier, but still add a nice nuttiness to the dish.

Hi Zissie,
This recipe looks delicious as always. I am putting together menus for the upcoming chagim and would really appreciate a function that would allow me to save the recipes I want to make to a personal recipe box. Can you add this feature?

Thank you! I am so glad you are enjoying the recipes!
Here is how to save them: If you go to any recipe card, beneath it’s picture, you have the print icon and a little heart icon. To add a recipe to your favorites, you just click on the heart and it’ll be added.
To get the list of all your favorite recipes, when logged on, go to the top menu bar where it says ‘My Account > My Favorites’ or visit this link – and it will show a list of links to any recipes you have added as favorites.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 whole fryer chicken, quartered, rinsed, and patted dry
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and then sliced into 1-inch pieces, washed well, and dried
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon, plus more sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, skin side down cook until skin is browned, about 5 minutes. Turn, and cook until other side is browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate set aside.

Add leeks to skillet cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add tarragon cook 1 minute. Add wine deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom, until liquid evaporates. Add stock and zest. Cover bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter keep warm. Place skillet over high heat cook until sauce thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken garnish with tarragon sprigs.

Skye Gyngell’s braised kid with squash, tamarind and chickpeas

Braised kid with squash, tamarind and chickpeas. Photograph: andy sewell

Goat is an underused meat with a wonderful rich, almost earthy, flavour. I like the legs and shoulders best – slowly braised with spices until meltingly tender and falling apart. If kid is difficult to find, you can substitute lamb – the flavour is not dissimilar.

Serves 4-6
shoulder of kid 1, about 4kg
olive oil 1-2 tbsp
dry white wine 300ml
garlic 1 bulb, halved horizontally
bay leaves 4-6
dried chilli 1, roughly chopped
cinnamon 2 sticks
star anise 3
chickpeas 250g, cooked jarred or good quality tinned, drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the squash
winter squash 1 (onion squash is my favourite)
cumin seeds ½ ts
nigella seeds ½ tsp
mustard seeds ½ tsp
coriander seeds ½ tsp
dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
tamarind paste 2 tbsp
honey 1 tsp
lime juice of ½
olive oil 4 tbsp

To serve
Greek-style yogurt 200g
garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
lime juice of 1
herb leaves sage, marjoram and/or parsley
extra virgin olive oil to trickle

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. Season the meat well with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil, then the meat and brown well on all sides, turning as necessary.

Transfer the meat to a roasting tin. Pour on the wine, add the garlic and scatter over the bay leaves, dried chilli, cinnamon and star anise. Cover the tin with foil, sealing well. Cook in the middle of the oven for 3½ hours, turning the meat once or twice, until tender and falling from the bone. Uncover and leave until cool enough to handle, then lift the meat onto a board and remove the bones.

Return the meat to the roasting tin and add the chickpeas. Re-cover with the foil and return to the oven for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to prepare the squash, halve lengthways, scoop out the seeds, then slice into wedges and place in a bowl. Toast the spice seeds in a small dry frying pan over a medium heat. As soon as they begin to pop, take off the heat. Pound the toasted spices finely with the dried chilli flakes, using a pestle and mortar.

For the dressing, put the tamarind paste in a bowl, add the ground spices, honey, lime juice, olive oil and a good pinch of salt, and stir well to combine.

Spoon the dressing over the squash and toss to coat the wedges. Transfer them to a roasting tray, cover with foil and place in the oven alongside the meat for the last 35 minutes of its roasting time.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the garlic, lime juice and a good pinch of salt.

Check the squash is tender by piercing with a knife. Arrange the meat, squash and chickpeas on warm plates and add a spoonful of yogurt. Scatter over the herbs and finish with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil.
From Spring by Skye Gyngell (Quadrille, £25)

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Who said chicken cannot be part of a festive menu? Braise chicken thighs in sweet Port wine for an hour, add a handful of chestnuts if you feel like it (see note), garnish with dried cranberries and there you have it. Festive chicken! Dried cranberries are not as sweet as raisins, therefore add a tangy sweetness to the dish. You can replace port with the cypriot wine «Coumantaria». Delish.


  • 12 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 60 grams butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup port, or other sweet wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or one chicken stock cube, disolved in 2 cups boiling water)
  • 3 Tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbs chopped tarragon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over high heat. Add thighs, skin side down and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn over and cook 1-2 minutes more, until chicken is nicely coloured but not cooked. Do this in batches if you have to. Take thighs out of pan and into a large platter until needed.

In the same saucepan add the onion and cook for a minute until soft. Add the garlic and cook stirring until onion is cooked. Add the flour and mix. Continue with the port, chicken broth, mustard, parsley and tarragon (save some for garnish). Return chicken thighs to the saucepan, skin side up, and partly cover the pan. Lower the heat and simmer for one hour, until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly (uncover the pot if the chicken is cooked but sauce is too runny). Garnish with the cranberries and tarragon. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Note: If you want to add chestnuts to the dish, to give it a more festive note, use store-bought, cooked chestnuts and add them to the pot, 15 minutes before the chicken is done.

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