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My friends and family often email me when they’re in a pinch – begging me for a quick, one dish, stove top meal. One that actually tastes good. One of my favorite go-to dishes happily fits the bill.
This simple, springtime recipe came to mind last week when I needed a home for some fresh rhubarb. I love chicken thighs too so it was pretty much a no brainer. (By the way, chicken thighs are very underrated in my opinion. They are inexpensive, moist and flavorful…mark my words, they will become the rage soon!)
The only downside to this dish is that it is decidedly BROWN. The rhubarb loses lots of it’s color so be sure to garnish the final dish with something vibrant and accompany it with side dishes featuring different textures and colors.
Chicken Thighs with Rhubarb Sauce
Serves 4 (unless you’re like me and can make do with just one thigh)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 7 or 8 bone-in, skin-on medium chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped (about 2 Tbsp)
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly diced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated peeled
- 1/2 cup sweet wine (port or sherry or dessert wine works well)
- 1 cup chicken broth (I got lazy and used “Better Than Bouillon”)
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ½ pound rhubarb stalks, sliced about ½ inch thick depending on the width (mine were average and I used nearly two bunches or about 10-12 medium stalks)
Lay out a tea towel and place chicken thighs on top – dry them well.
Combine the spices (the first five ingredients in the list above) in a dish and gently press the mixture into the skin side of each thigh. Note, the brown sugar helps the chicken to brown well when sautéing.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottom stainless steel 12-inch sauté pan for about two minutes. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, and let it become hot and shimmering but not smoking. This method of heating the pan and then the oil before sautéing prevents sticking.
Gently place the thighs, skin side down, into the pan and gently shake it to be sure nothing is sticking. Continue to sauté until golden brown, about five minutes.Turn the thighs with a tongs (don’t pierce the skin) and cook the second side until golden brown, about four minutes more. Remove the thighs to a rimmed plate so you can collect the juice.
Lower the flame to medium and remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the ginger and shallots cook for another two minutes, stirring frequently until the shallots soften.
Add the sherry, using a spatula to incorporate any bits that might stick to the bottom. Continue to boil and cook three more minutes. Add chicken broth, honey, and orange juice and stir well.
Keep the heat where it is, bring everything to a boil and add chicken thighs to the pan with the skin side up along with chicken juice from the plate. Continue to cook but lower the flame to simmer the contents
Cover and cook for 30 minutes, turning the chicken thighs over with your tongs and basting every 10 minutes, always returning them skin side up.
After 30 minutes, nestle rhubarb pieces around the chicken and return to a low simmer until the rhubarb is very tender, another 10 minutes.
I served this on top of plain cooked quinoa to absorb the juices, and with another spring favorite: pencil thin stalks of asparagus grilled with just a little olive oil. I added some Pepperonata alongside for color and dessert was a beautiful, colorful fresh fruit salad. My family loved this!