Spicy Braised Chicken with Citrus and Rhubarb

May 15, 2011
3 Ratings
Photo by Armando Rafael
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Cooking with chicken thighs is a great way to produce rich flavor, tenderness, and protein on a shoestring budget. The chicken for this dish costs less than $2, and if you find a "buy one, get one or two free" sale, then you can feed your whole neighborhood. To stretch this recipe even further, you can debone the chicken before serving and serve twice as many folks. —Sagegreen

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds free-range bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds or pollen
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground peppercorns, preferably pink
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 ounce German Speck or pancetta, cut up (optional)
  • one 3-inch knob peeled ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pinch sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered rings of vidalias or other sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut fresh fennel bulb (optional)
  • 1 sweet orange, pith removed and peel cut into matchsticks, meat quartered
  • Peel and juice of 1 Meyer lemon, pith removed and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 to 3 ample stalks fresh rhubarb, diced
  • 1 pinch Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 cup dry white cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade), plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, or as needed
  • 3 cups cooked, warm medium-grain brown rice
  • 1 squeeze Meyer lemon, to serve
  • Quartered slices orange and lemon, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  1. To prepare the chicken thighs, pat them dry, then sprinkle them with the fennel or pollen and peppercorns.
  2. In a large pan, add a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the Speck and ginger then add the chicken thighs and cook until evenly browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Flip the chicken thighs to brown on the other side. When both sides are golden brown, transfer the chicken, Speck, and ginger from the pan to a platter and let rest. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
  3. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add another splash of olive oil. Add the onion and fennel bulb, if using, and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in the orange and lemon peels and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rhubarb and cinnamon.
  4. Return the chicken, Speck, and ginger to the pan. Return to heat. Pour in the wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, and chicken broth. Add the mustard mixture to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook over medium-low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the liquid reduces by almost half. Add more broth as needed. Taste and adjust for the sweet/sour balance you like: Add the cider vinegar if too sweet or a touch of maple syrup if too tart.
  5. Divide the rice evenly over four plates and serve the thighs with the onions, rhubarb, and citrus peel on top. Pour some fresh lemon over each plate, season with salt to taste, and garnish with cilantro or parsley and the quartered lemon and orange.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • inpatskitchen
  • boulangere
  • wssmom
  • Sagegreen

16 Reviews

NXL May 25, 2020
It looks like I'll be the first to leave a review who actually made the dish. 🤨 This was wonderful! citrusy and interesting. Loved the crisped ginger and the lemon and orange peel. I did not add the chicken back to the pan until I had deglazed and everything was in and well mixed. The dish had a LOT of broth when finished, which I did not hate. Not sure I picked up anything from the smidge of cinnamon. Served with brown Jasmine rice.
Isabel January 3, 2018
Nut allergy alert: pink peppercorns are in the cashew family.
Other than that, I am totally making this!
Nicole June 8, 2015
Would there be a good substitute for Rhubarb? I'm not the hugest fan but the rest of the recipe sounds phenomenal. I would hate to miss out on the sweetness added by rhubarb by omitting it.
mbear55 June 6, 2015
Holy list of ingredients.
inpatskitchen May 15, 2011
Chicken thighs are my favorite! Thanks for this recipe..a new take on these!
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Thanks, inpatskitchen. These were great fun to make. My more traditional Moroccan chicken recipe using thighs I may not post, since it probably is more familiar.
omarston May 15, 2011
Wow, looks delicious!
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Thanks, O! Now I am working on a variation of a frugal gourmet Morroccan chicken recipe.
ellenl May 15, 2011
Can't wait to try this!
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Thanks, ellenl! Please let me know what you think. If you like more sour, you can also add a little cider vinegar, or more sweet then a little more maple.
boulangere May 15, 2011
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Thanks! It is sweet and sour, too. I made it up as I went along.
boulangere May 15, 2011
And isn't that the fun of this contest!
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Amen to that! Yes, this is inspiring to think up new combinations!
wssmom May 15, 2011
This looks AMAZING!
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Thanks so much, wssmom. It is so great to have a little window of time to spend on this site; it is crazy busy this season for me at work!!!