Dinner Deal: Cider Braised Chicken with Peppery Escarole

Weeknight dinners don’t – and shouldn’t – have to break the bank. Using an inexpensive cut of meat like chicken thighs produces a quick-cooking dinner full of flavor.

As we get into autumn, save some scratch by taking advantage of sales on seasonal ingredients like apple cider (or, if you’re like me and looking for new ways to finish off that whole gallon that you bought at the farm stand, try and incorporate new ingredients into your weeknight dinner repertoire).

Cider Braised Chicken Thighs with Peppery Escarole

Makes 4 servings


For the chicken:

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Salt and ground black pepper

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

1 cup unfiltered apple cider

1 cup chicken stock

For the escarole:

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 head escarole, washed and chopped

Salt and ground black pepper


To prepare the chicken, place a large high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat with the oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear them in the pan, skin-side-down first, until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve.

Pour off any rendered grease to keep about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan. Return the pan to medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cider and stock to the pan and bring the liquid up to a boil. Add the chicken and any juices that may have accumulated on the plate to the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until the chicken has cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve warm. Increase the heat under the pan to medium-high and boil the liquid until it has reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.

While the liquid in the pan is reducing, prepare the escarole. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat with the oil and pepper flakes. Add the escarole to the pan and cook, tossing often, until it has softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the escarole with the braised chicken, onions and pan sauce.

Looking for more dinner recipes? Try these:

Creamy chicken and mushroom one-pot with pot pie toppers

Roast chicken dinner with roasted garlic gravy

Chipotle chicken thighs with chunky guacamole

Arroz con pollo

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione, Bobby Deen and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at

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