While strictly speaking this is not a French dish, it has all the characteristics of a warm and cozy meal you could imagine having at a local corner café in France. If you can’t travel, you might as well eat like you are!
This bistro-style crispy chicken is braised with carrots, potatoes, and, for good measure, greens in a mustard and lemon seasoned chicken broth. It all comes together easily in a skillet and adds up to a satisfying, flavorful meal.
THE BONUS TO BRAISING CHICKEN
Braising is one way to cook meat with moist heat. It cooks food gently, keeps it from drying out, and requires only a small amount of liquid in the pan. Stewing, on the other hand, contains a lot more liquid, enough to submerge the meat.
The real bonus here, though, is that the small amount of braising liquid on the bottom of the skillet allows the chicken skin to become crisp in the oven, while the vegetables cook in the juices. The liquid in the skillet creates a kind of flavor exchange—the vegetables give the broth extra richness, and the chicken permeates the vegetables.
WINNER, WINNER SKILLET DINNER
After you brown the chicken on one side, set it aside on a plate and give the potatoes and carrots a head start. Return the chicken to the pan with the stock and pop it in the oven for half an hour or so. The chicken takes another turn on a clean plate while you cook the chard leaves in the pan on top of the stove. Finally, set the chicken atop the vegetables and serve with a squeeze of lemon.
WAYS TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE
When it comes to cooking, you can always find ways to tweak recipes.
- No big skillet? No problem! Cook the chicken in batches in the skillet and transfer them to a baking dish or use two skillets and divide the ingredients between them or use a Dutch oven.
- Swiss chard substitute? Use greens of your choice such as kale, baby kale, or spinach. If you stick with chard, know that it’s much sweeter than kale, and if you’re not used to cooking with it, I strongly urge you to try it. Trim the leaves from the stems and cut the stems into pieces. They’re sweet and delicious, and the stems add another element to the dish.
- Not a fan of chicken thighs? Thighs stay moist and make a delicious change from chicken breasts, but you could use chicken breasts, too. Look for small breast halves with the skin and bone, so you can dig into that crispy skin. Boneless breasts will take a lot less time to cook, so if you use them, you will need to cook the vegetables in the oven for about 25 minutes first, sauté the chicken separately, and then add it to the pan to finish cooking for a few minutes.
HOW TO PREPARE THIS DISH AHEAD OF TIME
I recommend cooking this dish all the way through, cooling it, then freezing it to reheat at a later date. This is a perfect make and reheat meal if you’re caring for someone or bringing a dish to friend who may not need to eat it now but could reheat it later.
Although you could safely freeze this for up to four months, two months is optimal for preserving good flavor and texture.
- One to two days ahead: Cook the entire recipe to the end. Store the chicken and vegetables in separate containers in the fridge. About 30 minutes before serving, spread the vegetables in the bottom of a baking dish, place the chicken on top, and heat, uncovered, at 375˚F until the vegetables are hot all the way through and the chicken is crispy. The same goes for leftovers!
- Freeze for up to 2 months: Cook the chicken and vegetables. Place the vegetables in a freezer bag and place the chicken on top of the vegetables. (You will need at least two bags.) Seal the bags so they are airtight. Freeze flat. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as per the method above.
MORE CHICKEN SKILLET DINNERS
Skillet Chicken Thighs with Potatoes, Carrots, and Greens Recipe
- 8 (3 pounds) bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 4 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 12 ounces baby carrots
- 3 whole, unpeeled cloves garlic, smashed with the flat of a knife to break the skin
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2 Trim and season the chicken thighs: With scissors or a sharp knife, cut off excess flaps of skin and fat from the thighs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
3 Prep the chard stalks and leaves: Tear or cut the stalks from the leaves. Cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Slice the leaves into 2-inch-wide strips. Keep the stalks and leaves separate.
4 Brown the chicken and par-cook the potatoes and carrots: In a large (12- to 13-inch) ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the chicken with the skin side down. Cook on the skin side only for about 5 minutes without disturbing it, or until the skin lightly browns.
Transfer to a plate. (If the chicken doesn’t fit in one skillet, cook in batches or use two smaller skillets and divide the ingredients between them.)
Add the potatoes and carrots to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until they brown lightly.
5 Prep the braising liquid: In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the chicken stock, mustard, and lemon zest to combine.
6 Braise the chicken: Add the chard stalks, smashed garlic and braising liquid to the skillet with the vegetables. Set the chicken pieces on top and sprinkle with the thyme.
7 Transfer to the oven: Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from the oven.
8 Add the chard leaves: Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate. Taste the broth and add more salt, if you like. Set the skillet over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir the chard leaves into the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until wilted. Remove the garlic cloves.
9 Serve: Set the chicken on top of the vegetables. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve from the skillet, or transfer to a large serving platter. Serve as is, or with a salad.
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