Updated: Jun 19
Call it cliche or basic or whatever, but I. LOVE. AUTUMN.
I love the chilly nights and still-warm days. I love the changing colors of the leaves. I love the cozy sweaters. I REALLY love not sweating constantly. But I especially love the chance to return to making warm, comforting foods, like this Cider-Braised Chicken. It's savory and sweet all at once, with chicken that literally falls off the bone, and it's the perfect recipe for an Autumn weekend dinner party because it not only tastes great but has a wow factor when served directly in the Dutch oven in which it was cooked. Just be sure to plan ahead because this recipe works best when you start it at least a day in advance.
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 chicken drumsticks
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4 medium orange carrots
3 celery stalks
4 cloves garlic
4 cups unfiltered apple cider
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons For the Birds Poultry Seasoning
15 rainbow carrots
Minced fresh parsley, for serving
Mashed potatoes, for serving
Preheat oven to 300F with a rack in the lower third of the oven so that a large (9.5-quart) Dutch oven will fit. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.
Season chicken thighs and drumsticks with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken all over, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
While the chicken is browning, peel the onion, cut it in half through the root and then cut each half in half so that you have 4 quarters, each of which is held together by a portion of the root. Peel and trim the ends from the orange carrots, and cut those into 2-inch pieces. Trim the celery stalks and cut those into 2-inch pieces as well. Peel the garlic.
Once you've finished browning the chicken, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just begin to soften. Add 1 tablespoon of For the Birds Poultry Seasoning and stir to coat. Arrange chicken pieces on top of vegetables and add the cider and chicken broth. You should have enough to completely cover the chicken. If you do not, add more cider.
Bring to a boil. Cover with foil, pressing down onto meat, then cover with the lid. Transfer to the oven and braise for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove lid and foil, and allow to cool completely before chilling overnight.
Preheat oven to 400F. Spoon fat from the top and discard. Put on some latex or vinyl gloves and carefully remove the chicken pieces from the Dutch oven, using your hands to wipe the solidified cooking liquid from the chicken. Set the chicken aside.
Heat the cooking liquid and vegetables just enough to make the cooking liquid actually liquid again. Strain it and discard the vegetables. Return the cooking liquid to the Dutch oven, bring it to a boil, and reduce it to approximately 2 cups. Whisk in the remaining For the Birds Poultry Seasoning and season to taste with salt.
While the liquid is reducing, trim and peel the rainbow carrots, and cut in half lengthwise if large.
Arrange chicken in Dutch oven and spread rainbow carrots over the top of the chicken. Roast, uncovered, spooning juices over the carrots a few times, until carrots start to brown and are tender, about 45-50 minutes.
Scatter fresh minced parsley over the top and serve in Dutch oven, along with mashed potatoes.
Do ahead: Through Step 5, up to 3 days in advance.