As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my choice of recipes to develop has changed. When I started Leite’s Culinaria in 1999, I was all about making EVERYTHING from scratch. Really, everything.

The One joked that if I were making this recipe back in the day, I’d probably raise the chickens (but definitely have someone else nix them), grow the leeks, beans, and rosemary for the base, make the apple cider–from my apples, natch–and most likely forge the pan for all of it to nestle in. And he was right.

Well, those days are long gone.

While I still love to cook, I look for shortcuts these days. The word “one” has become big in my culinary vocabulary. As in “one-pot,” “less than one hour of hands-on time,” and “Hey, The One, it’s your turn to wash the dishes.”

This rosemary chicken braise, inspired by a dish from Jamie Oliver, fits the bill. It uses only one pan, takes all of 20 minutes to prepare, and then less than one hour to roast.

Best of all, though, it tastes as if you’ve been cooking all day. It’s impressive that such a short tour of duty in the oven allows the “ingredients to hold hands,” as my grandmother Vovo Costa used to say. The apple cider plays nicely with the leeks. The rosemary gives a slight piney note to the chicken, while the lemon provides a lovely pop of brightness. And, well, can you ever go wrong with the silkiness of sour cream?

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The testers were delighted with this rosemary chicken recipe, which they called “comforting and filling without being heavy.” They loved that the dish packed plenty of flavor while only requiring a handful of ingredients.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for rosemary chicken--chicken thighs, rosemary, apple cider, garlic, leeks, lemon, beans, oil, and sour cream.
  • Chicken thighs–You can use chicken thighs or drumsticks, or a combination of them, for this recipe. (I prefer thighs because there is more meat-to-bone ratio.) Whichever you choose, make sure the pieces are approximately the same size so that they’ll cook evenly.
  • Leeks–Ah, the allium of the gods. These add a slightly sweet, mild onion flavor to the baked rosemary chicken. The dark green tops are tough and shouldn’t be used. Save them for making slow cooker chicken stock.
    • ☞ NOTE: Leeks are notoriously dirty, so wash them well before using. For this recipe, slice them crosswise into coins, then rinse them in a running water bowl, gently prying apart the rings to remove any dirt trapped inside.
  • Apple cider–Apple cider is excellent here and complements the flavor of the chicken and leeks beautifully.
  • Sour Cream–This adds creamy lusciousness and a bit of tang to the dish.

How to Make Rosemary Chicken

Olive oil added to a skillet; chicken thighs being seared in the skillet.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the oil to a large pan (I use a brazier) or Dutch oven.
  2. Brown the chicken all over.
Leeks being added to a skillet; a person sautéing the leeks.
  1. Stir in the leeks and sauté until they begin to soften.
  2. Sprinkle in garlic and rosemary and cook another minute.
Chicken thighs on top of a bed of leeks in a skillet; a person pouring apple cider into the skillet.
  1. Nestle the chicken into the greenery in the pan.
  2. Pour in the cider.
Cannellini beans being added to a skillet of chicken and leeks; a person stirring creme fraiche into a skillet of chicken thighs, leeks, and beans.
  1. Spoon the cannellini beans into the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the chicken pulls away from the bone.
  2. Stir in the sour cream.
A person zesting lemon into a skillet of chicken thighs, cannellini beans, and leeks.
  1. Zest a lemon over the dish and serve pronto!
A bowl with one crispy chicken thigh on top of a mixture of leeks and cannellini beans.

Common Questions

Can I make this with bone-in chicken breasts?

You can, but you will need to watch the chicken closely to avoid overcooking it. Remove it from the oven as soon as the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160°F.

What size PAN do I need?

Ideally, you want to use a Dutch oven that will fit all of your chicken pieces in a single layer to preserve the crispy browned skin. If you don’t have a large Dutch oven, a deep heavy oven-proof skillet will also work well.

Helpful Tips

  • If your chicken is sticking to the pan, add a splash of oil to help loosen it. Don’t force your chicken to release, though, as you may end up tearing the skin.
  • If your chicken won’t fit in a single layer in your pan, brown it in two batches.
  • Because you’re building layers of ingredients in the same pan, it’s easy to forget to season with salt and pepper as you go. Remember, salt is what brings out flavor, but your dish should never taste salty.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets.

Substitutions

  • If you’re not a fan of gently sweet dishes, swap out the apple cider in favor of the same amount of chicken stock
  • For a bit of heat, add a pinch of crushed pepper flakes to the pot.
  • If leeks aren’t your style, use 1 pound of frozen pearl onions.

Storage & Reheating

Store leftover roasted rosemary chicken in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in a baking dish in a 300°F oven with an extra splash of cider until warmed through.

What to Serve with this Recipe

This rosemary-roasted chicken is a total flavor bomb on its own, so it needs only a simple side to complement it. Try it with steamed broccoli, roasted potatoes, boiled garlicky greens, or baked asparagus, which is what we serve it with. Of course, I’d never say no to a hunk of homemade Italian bread for scooping up those creamy, saucy, sassy beans.

A skillet with three chicken thighs on top of a mixture of leeks, rosemary, and cannellini beans.

More Great Chicken and Rosemary 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

A bowl with one crispy chicken thigh on top of a mixture of leeks and cannellini beans.

Rosemary Chicken

4.82 / 11 votes
This recipe for rosemary chicken is a cozy weeknight meal that combines tender roasted chicken, cannellini beans, and leeks in an apple-infused broth. The simplicity of the recipe and the outstanding flavor will have you returning to it over and over again.
David Leite
CourseEntree
CuisineAmerican
Servings4 servings
Calories605 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, or legs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound leeks, white and light green only, cut into 1/4-inch coins, rinsed well
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup apple cider, (not apple juice) or chicken stock if you prefer a more savory take
  • One (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and liquid reserved
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions 

  • Crank up the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Heat the oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
    Olive oil being poured into a skillet.
  • Generously season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place them skin-side down in the pan and sear until the skin is irresistibly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Flip and cook a few minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
    Three chicken thighs being seared in a skillet.
  • Lower the heat to medium, add the leeks, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
    Sliced leeks being added to a skillet.
  • Stir in the garlic and rosemary, season well with salt and pepper, and cook a minute more.
    A person sautéing leeks, garlic, and rosemary in a skillet.
  • Nestle the chicken into the gorgeous greenery in the pan.
    Three chicken thighs on top of a bed of leeks in a skillet.
  • Splash in the apple cider.
    A person pouring apple cider over chicken thighs and sliced leeks in a skillet.
  • Spoon the beans around the chicken and stir into the leeks. Add some of the reserved bean liquid if the leeks aren't halfway covered with the cider.
    A person spooning cannellini beans into a skillet of chicken thighs and leeks.
  • Slide the pan into the oven and roast, uncovered, until the thighs are beautifully browned and register 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer and the beans are slightly crusted, 45 to 55 minutes. If the chicken is browning too quickly, cover the pan.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and swirl in the sour cream.
    A person stirring sour cream into a skillet of chicken thighs, leeks, and cannellini beans.
  • Zest the lemon over the dish and carry it triumphantly to the table.
    A person zesting a lemon over a skillet of chicken thighs, leeks, cannellini beans, and sour cream.

Notes

  1. If the chicken sticks–If your chicken is sticking to the pan, add a splash of oil to help loosen it. Don’t force your chicken to release, though, as you may end up tearing the skin.
  2. Work in batches–If your chicken won’t fit in a single layer in your pan, brown it in two batches.
  3. Season as you go–Because you’re building layers of ingredients in the same pan, it’s easy to forget to season with salt and pepper as you go. Remember, salt is what brings out flavor, but your dish should never taste salty.
  4. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets.
  5. Storage and reheating–Store leftover roasted rosemary chicken in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in a baking dish in a 300°F oven with an extra splash of cider until warmed through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 605 kcalCarbohydrates: 26 gProtein: 39 gFat: 36 gSaturated Fat: 11 gMonounsaturated Fat: 14 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 200 mgSodium: 260 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 6 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2024 David Leite. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

A piece of rosemary chicken with butter beans and leeks on a white plate.

These rosemary chicken thighs were nice! Leeks, beans, crispy golden chicken, and the perfect amount of rosemary make this a quick and easy supper worthy of being repeated. The sour cream added at the end made it even better.

I browned the thighs skin-side down for 13 minutes until they were gorgeously golden, turned them over, and cooked the other side for two minutes before adding the vegetables, rosemary, and cider. We had this with steamed broccoli for a delicious, simple supper.

I’m always looking for new ways to make roasted chicken thighs and am adding this one into my rotation. It’s great for a quick weeknight meal, and the flavors are interesting enough to impress dinner guests!

The combination of familiar and surprising flavors works together beautifully. Initially, I wondered if this might be too rich with all the dairy, but the cider balances the flavor nicely.

This chicken comes together quickly and gives you plenty of time and stovetop space to work on side dishes while it roasts away in the oven for 45 minutes. I served quinoa tabouli with this, which didn’t match the cuisine style, but it was a nice, fresh, and acidic compliment to the chicken. Be sure to enjoy a glass of hard cider with the meal as well!

This recipe delivers great flavor with little effort, as most of the cooking takes place in the oven. The combination of the fond from browning the chicken, the leeks, and the cider produced a rich aromatic base for the beans to soak up.

Lastly, the addition of sour cream rounded out the sauce and helped thicken it.




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




13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    David! This is a great recipe! I made it tonight for Lee Ann (my wife) and my mother-in-law and got rave reviews… in her very basic old kitchen. It’s so simple to prepare and cook. I’m definitely going to make it again. The cider introduces just a hint of sweetness and melds with the earthiness of the beans wonderfully. I paired it with some creamy mashed potatoes to sop up the outrageous sauce… wow!
    Thanks for another delicious recipe!
    Al

    1. Alan! Such great news all around! This is a winning recipe. I think it would work well with pork, too.

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this dish—all it needs with it (if anything!) is a nice chunk of bread to grab up the sauce. Chicken was falling apart tender.( I also cooked a couple of boneless/skinless breasts for one in the household who just doesn’t want to fuss w skin or bones —even those pieces weren’t too dry!)

    My change? I would stir the beans into the leeks below the chicken and I would take the chicken pieces off when it comes time to add the sour cream (just easier!)…I actually reheated the dish with the sour cream in it and it didn’t suffer.

    Absolute keeper.

  3. 5 stars
    I’m in France right now, renovating our house. It’s been very damp, cool, rainy, and windy here so this recipe looked like just the ticket and it was – with “French” market ingredients- used white wine instead of the cider (I forgot to put it on my list!), creme fraiche instead of sour cream (less gooey and tastier in a subtle way, wonderful for mixing with anything). Used one huge leek, five cloves of lovely purple garlic chopped, cooked dried beans that I’d bought at the local market and added them, after soaking overnight to cook with the chx pieces, rosemary from my garden, chicken leg & thighs from a local vendor at the market – it was lovely and I made it all on the stovetop (no oven). Yum. Ate the leftover beans/leeks broth as a standalone soup the next day. Will make it again for sure – even just the soup part! Thank you!