Foodist Approved: Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

by | Mar 25, 2015
Braised chicken with asparagus and mushrooms

Braised chicken with asparagus and mushrooms

Braising is my preferred method of cooking meat as of late. A quick sear followed by an effortless simmer ensures meat so tender that even my toothless nine-month-old devours it.

The flavors in this braised chicken dish were inspired by the start of spring. Move over root vegetables—asparagus are now stealing the limelight at the farmers market. The white wine lends a refreshing citrusy accent and the herbs de provence are reminiscent of spring flowers.*

The best part about this recipe is being able to accomplish every step, from the searing to the simmering to cooking the veggies and creating a sop-it-up sauce, in just one pot (the family member appointed to dish-duty will thank you).

The right pot is key in this recipe. If you’re not yet the proud owner of a Dutch or French oven, which is a large enameled cast-iron pot with a lid, then you should definitely consider investing in this worthwhile culinary wonder. I’m partial to Le Creuset French ovens, but there are less expensive brands out there too.

Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Serves 3

  • 6 [about 2.2 lbs] chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 oz [about 3 cups] sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (if low-sodium unavailable cut the salt above in half)
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de provence (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 12 oz), ends trimmed

Sprinkle the chicken generously with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and let sit for 15 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a 12-inch Dutch or French oven (enameled cast-iron pot) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then place the thighs skin-side down in the pot. When the edges begin to lightly brown, about 5 minutes, use a metal spatula to flip the chicken (watch out for splattering oil). Brown the second side for 3 additional minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Pour off some of the excess fat, and then add the onion and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the white wine and use the metal spatula to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot (this is called deglazing and will add tons of flavor).

Allow the wine to simmer for a minute then add the mushrooms, broth, herbs de provence, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Place the chicken back in the pot skin-side-up, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Snuggle the asparagus between the thighs and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the asparagus are tender.

Place the chicken and asparagus in low-sided bowls, ladle a generous amount of the braising liquid and mushrooms on top and serve with a hunk of crusty baguette for soaking up all the juices. 

*Herbs de provence is a classic French blend of aromatic herbs and can be found in the spice section at most grocery stores. If unavailable, you can substitute thyme, oregano, and a pinch of lavender if you have it.

Elyse Kopechy is a food writer, recipe developer, whole foods advocate, and marketing consultant. After 10 years working for Nike and EA Sports, Elyse decided to pursue her passion for talking about and writing about food. She went to NYC to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute and has taken cooking classes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Follow Elyse’s adventures in the kitchen @ElyseKopecky.

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7 Responses to “Foodist Approved: Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms”

  1. I agree. Braising is easy to do and one of my favorite ways to cook. It is one of the truly ‘immersive’ styles of cooking in that it engages all of your senses to an extent… And when you can take a tough cut like a chuck roast and create an amazing meal from it, it almost makes braising seem a little like magic.

    If anyone is looking for a great book on braising, food author Michael Ruhlman just published ‘How To Braise’. Simplifies the method and comes with some delicious recipes…

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Tami says:

    Cooked this tonight and loved it! I do have a question. Why do you simmer uncovered? I would have more confidence that my chicken was cooked thoroughly if I simmered covered for some of the time. Also, I do not have a Dutch oven but didn’t want to wait to try the meal until I got one so I used a regular pot. What am I missing? Does a Dutch oven cook more evenly or get hotter?

    • Elyse says:

      Hi Tami,
      Glad to hear! Yes a Dutch oven holds its heat better so you can leave it uncovered and it cooks more evenly. I keep it uncovered so that the sauce thickens and so that that skin keeps from getting soggy. If you don’t have a Dutch oven a large heavy-bottom pot will do the trick too, just might take a little longer to cook.

  3. Michelle says:

    Can chicken breasts be used instead?

    • Elyse says:

      Hi Michelle,
      White meat can be used, but preferably skin-on and bone-in to keep it from drying out. Personally, I think dark meat tastes better, stays moister and has more nutrients than white meat.
      Let me know how it turns out,

  4. Sia says:

    Was the recipe removed? I don’t see any directions.

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