The One is an olive fanatic. I’ve seen him stand motionless in front of an olive bar, transfixed by all the colors, shapes, and sizes. (I remember when he used to look at me that way.)

For 30 years, he’s tried to furtively slip olives into just about everything–from breakfast to snacks. So it’s no surprise this was a winner. And for good reason: You get your chicken hit plus a slap of citrus and a burst of meaty umami from the olives. And the prosciutto? Little juliennes of crunchiness on top.

Moranville suggests, if possible, buying a mix of olives, including France’s wrinkly-skinned Nyons olives. And a few green olives wouldn’t hurt anyone.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers gobbled this up. They found it to be moist and flavorful and loved the briny punch that the olives added to the dish. Linda Pacchiano found that “the steps were short and easy, and the result was succulent chicken thighs with a complementary and highly flavorful sauce.

Lisa C. joined in. “We fell in love with the juicy chicken thighs with a complex sauce, bright from the lemon zest and juice, briny from the olives, with a hint of saltiness from the pancetta.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for braised chicken thighs -- chicken, broth, vermouth, oil, prosciutto, olives, onion, garlic, lemon, garlic, and dried herbs.
  • Bone-in chicken thighs–Using thighs ensures moist, juicy chicken that can withstand being cooked to a higher temperature. You could also use bone-in chicken breasts here, but you’ll need to watch the cooking time and pull it from the oven when the chicken reaches 165°F to avoid dry, overcooked chicken.
  • Vermouth–Use dry white vermouth, such as Noilly Prat. Definitely don’t use sweet red vermouth.
  • Olives–You can use any type of imported black olive here, such as Niçoise or kalamata.
  • Prosciutto–You can substitute chopped pancetta if you prefer.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Chicken thighs being browned in a yellow Dutch oven, then chopped onion being sautéed in chicken fat.
  1. Brown the chicken in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain off most of the fat from the Dutch oven.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining chicken fat until softened.
Vermouth being added to a yellow Dutch oven, then chicken stock being poured in.
  1. Pour in the vermouth.
  2. Add the chicken stock. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup.
A yellow Dutch oven with braising liquid in it and the same Dutch oven with cooked chicken thighs, olives, and prosciutto.
  1. Add the herbes de Provence, lemon juice, and zest. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, skin-side up. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Uncover and add the olives and prosciutto. Bake uncovered until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170°F (77°C). Sprinkle with additional lemon zest and serve.

Common Questions

What is braising?

Braising is a cooking technique that involves searing meat until browned, then gently cooking it in liquid on the stovetop or in the oven. It’s an easy, one-pot cooking method that results in tender meat and a flavorful sauce.

What should I serve with these braised chicken thighs?

You’re going to want something to sop up all that delicious braising liquid. Mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, or crusty bread are all good choices. A simple side salad also pairs nicely with this comforting braised chicken thigh recipe.

Can I make this without alcohol?

Yes, absolutely. You can use extra chicken stock in place of the vermouth in this recipe.

Can I make this with boneless chicken thighs?

We recommend sticking with bone-in chicken pieces when braising. The bones help to keep the meat tender, add flavor to the dish, and, as a result, you’re less likely to have dry, overcooked chicken.

Helpful Tips

  • Choose similar-size chicken thighs so that they cook through at the same time.
  • Pat your chicken dry before searing to allow the skin to become as crispy as possible.
  • If your chicken is fully cooked after the initial baking time, simply stir in the olives and pancetta, and let it sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to warm through.
  • Leftover chicken can be stored with some braising liquid in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
A Dutch oven with braised chicken thighs, prosciutto, and olives.
: Richard Swearinger

More Great Braised Chicken Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

This was very good, great I would say. Weeknight easy yet definitely company worthy! It has been bookmarked.

The herbes de Provence and lemon zest were perfect. The sauce was fabulous and I had some crusty bread to soak that up. Thank you again for another great meal that will be enjoyed many times to come!

tannis
A Dutch oven with braised chicken thighs and olives, and a single thigh and three olives on a white plate.

Braised Chicken Thighs

5 / 6 votes
This rustic, French-style braised chicken is made with bone-in chicken thighs, olives, lemon, and a vermouth-infused sauce. It's a comforting one-pot meal.
David Leite
CourseEntree
CuisineFrench
Servings4 servings
Calories792 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 8 small (about 3 pounds) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the chicken browns too quickly).
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain off all but a sheen of fat from the Dutch oven.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring,until the onion is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
  • Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the vermouth and chicken broth, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the Dutch oven to the heat and bring to a boil; boil, stirring with a wire whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by about 1/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the herbes de Provence, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  • Return the chicken to the Dutch oven; cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover; add the olives and sprinkle the prosciutto on top of the chicken. Re-cover, return to the oven, and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 180°F (82°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  • Divvy the chicken, olives, and prosciutto bits among four shallow bowls, pour a spoonful of sauce over each, sprinkle with lemon zest, and serve.

Notes

    1. Size matters–Choose similar-size chicken thighs so that they cook through at the same time.
    2. Dry your chicken–Pat your chicken dry before searing to allow the skin to become as crispy as possible.
    3. Cooking time note–If your chicken is fully cooked after the initial baking time, simply stir in the olives and pancetta, and let it sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to warm through.
    4. Storage–Leftover chicken can be stored with some braising liquid in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.
    5. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
          Everyday French Cooking Cookbook

          Adapted From

          Everyday French Cooking

          Buy On Amazon

          Nutrition

          Serving: 2 thighsCalories: 792 kcalCarbohydrates: 7 gProtein: 49 gFat: 61 gSaturated Fat: 15 gMonounsaturated Fat: 28 gTrans Fat: 0.3 gCholesterol: 288 mgSodium: 553 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

          Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

          Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
          Recipe © 2022 Wini Moranville. Photos © 2023 David Leite. Photo © 2022 Richard Swearinger. All rights reserved.

          Recipe Testers’ Reviews

          This vermouth-braised chicken recipe is definitely a “winner-winner chicken dinner.” In fact, as much as I love dry vermouth in a cocktail, if my bottle had only 1/2 cup left, I’d rather use it to make this recipe.

          A white bowl with a braised chicken thighs on top of greens, and a red Dutch oven in the background containing more chicken.

          I used eight medium chicken thighs weighing a total of 1.11 kg. For seasoning, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. I tasted the sauce before adding the prosciutto and the olives, but I didn’t adjust the seasoning. This was a good decision, as the saltiness of the prosciutto and olives was enough to balance out the flavours.

          The sauce reduced to become a glossy elixir of aromatherapy with the herbs de Provence and lemon. In fact, each step of this recipe, starting with the browning of the chicken, provided a waft of pleasant aromas.

          The chicken was already at 170°F before the last step. I would encourage each cook to check the temperature prior to adding the prosciutto and olives so as to gauge the additional time required. Mine took 10 additional minutes. This was enough for all the flavours to meld and the thighs to reach 180°F.

          These Dutch oven-braised chicken thighs were so moist, tender, and flavourful. I served mine with a simple arugula salad and roasted sweet potatoes. “Can you make this again tomorrow?” my husband asked. High praise indeed.

          I love a great braise, and this was a great braise. The payoff of flavor and the ease of preparation makes this fabulous for a weeknight family dinner as well as special enough for a dinner party, where you can enjoy your guests without being glued to your stove.

          The olives added a delicious briny punch to the delicately moist and flavorful chicken, and the little bites of salty, smoky prosciutto were a welcome addition.

          Next time I’d add a few more olives, and I’d crisp the prosciutto separately and crumble it over the finished dish for a bit of crunch and texture.

          I served the chicken with a simple sweet potato puree to absorb the luscious sauce.

          When your husband LOVES olives, you try any recipe that includes them, such as this vermouth-braised chicken. We fell in love with the juicy chicken thighs and the complex sauce, bright from the lemon zest and juice, briny from the olives, and with a hint of saltiness from the pancetta.

          Continuing the Mediterranean vibes, I served the chicken over soft polenta and alongside a salad.

          This served four generously with leftovers, which I can’t wait to eat for lunch today! From prep to the table, this dish took less than an hour, making it great for weeknights or for company.

          This braised chicken thigh recipe will definitely give you a South-of-France “vibe.” Vermouth, herbes de Provence, lemon, and olives are all classic ingredients included in many dishes of the region.

          The steps are short and easy, and the result is succulent chicken thighs with a complementary and highly flavorful sauce. The prosciutto and olives give the dish an added element of refinement and sophistication.

          You can almost certainly guarantee a symphony of “oohs” and “aahs” from the dinner table with a rustic braised chicken dish like this one. It relies not only on the cooking method itself to produce tender, fall-off-the-bone meat but also on the handful of simple, flavorful ingredients that add an extra special touch to the overall dish.

          The combination of fragrant dry vermouth, briny olives, garlic, herbes de Provence, lemon zest and salty prosciutto with the perfectly cooked chicken thighs was utterly delicious. I served the dish with a creamy cauliflower puree and a simple green salad topped with roasted turnips.

          Overall, this was a memorable dish with flavors that I’ll be revisiting again soon. French simplicity at its best.

          This vermouth chicken dish was an ideal, quick, and delicious dinner! Yes, you could make it for company. But it was perfect for a last-minute weeknight meal.

          Three pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs resulted in eight total, which would serve four generously. I served it with a baked potato and a thick slice of homemade croissant bread.

          Because of the olives and prosciutto, I rinsed the olives to decrease some of the saltiness. I also found I wanted more sauce, so I will likely add more stock the next time, to ensure there’s enough sauce for all four servings.

          Lastly, this dish would also be nice with sherry, so I will try that another time. Either way, hubby loved it! I will definitely make this dish again.




          About David Leite

          I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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          Recipe Rating




          6 Comments

          1. 5 stars
            Made this last night for the weekly dinner I have with son and his fiancée. To get things ready for cooking once they I arrived, I seasoned the chicken and left uncovered in fridge for a few hours, set up all the other ingredients, and let them enjoy a drink at the kitchen counter while I cooked. Chicken thighs are my favorite cut, and this new recipe was a standout. I used kalamata olives and hand-shredded the prosciutto so each piece had a little pile on top. “She” proclaimed it was the best dish I’ve made for us so far. Luckily I have two pieces left for my dinner alone tonight. Served with oven-roasted baby Yukon golds quartered and tossed with truffle aioli and grainy mustard, and a salad.

          2. 5 stars
            This was very good, great I would say. Weeknight easy yet definitely company worthy! It has been bookmarked. The herbes de Provence and lemon zest were perfect. The sauce was fabulous and I had some crusty bread to soak that up! Like a tester suggested I crisped the prosciutto in advance and it added a nice crunch to the finish! Thank you again for another great meal that will be enjoyed many times to come!

            1. You’re welcome, Tannis. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how much you enjoyed it.

          3. 5 stars
            Beautiful photos! Thanks so much for featuring my recipe!
            — Wini Moranville, author of Everyday French Cooking (Harvard Common Press)

            1. Thank you, Wini, and you’re very welcome. We’re delighted to be able to share such a wonderful recipe.