braised chicken thighs with chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, and yogurt-dill sauce

This dish came about while I was spending a cool fall evening at my in-laws' lake house in New Hampshire. We planned on some good wine and a quiet night in, and braised chicken thighs seemed the perfect family-style meal. The ingredients of this dish are simple and easy to find in your standard grocery store. The real selling point is the yogurt sauce; it provides the creaminess to balance the spicy, savory braising liquid and the fresh dill helps to heighten the whole dish. Serve with a bold Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Chicken thighs (approximately 8 to 10 thighs)

  • Cumin (1 teaspoon)

  • Paprika (1 teaspoon)

  • Chili powder (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)

  • Sea salt (2 teaspoons)

  • Butter (2 tablespoons)

  • White onion (1 medium-sized, thingly sliced)

  • Apple cider vinegar (2 tablespoons)

  • Garbanzo beans (1 and 1/2 cups, rinsed and drained)

  • Crushed red tomatoes (1 large can, 28 ounces)

  • Plain Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)

  • Tahini (1 and 1/2 tablespoons)

  • Fresh dill (2 teaspoons, chopped)

  • Lemon juice (1 teaspoon)

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Unwrap the chicken thighs and place in a single layer in a shallow dish.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

  4. Drizzle the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the dry spice blend. Using tongs, turn the chicken thighs over so that both sides are coated with the oil and spices.

  5. In a deep oven-safe skillet (cast iron or ceramic), melt 2 tablespoons of butter on the stove over medium heat. Swirl the butter so that the bottom of the skillet is evenly coated.

  6. Add the sliced onions and stir with a wooden spoon until lightly browned, approximately 3 minutes.

  7. Add the spiced chicken thighs, skin-side down, moving the onions to the side of the skillet. Do not move the chicken while the thighs are browning initially. After about 4 minutes, turn the thighs over. The skin should be golden brown.

  8. Continue cooking the chicken thighs in the skillet for another 3 minutes to ensure even cooking on the other side.

  9. Once the chicken has browned on both sides, deglaze the skiller with the apple cider vinegar; add it to the skillet and use the wooden spoon to scrape up any of the brown, flavorful crust off the bottom of the skillet.

  10. Add the garganzo beans and crushed tomatoes to the skillet. Stir to combine without disturbing the chicken too much.

  11. Continue to cook the skillet on the stove top over low heat for another 5 minutes.

  12. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and transfer the entire skillet to the oven. Cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours.

  13. After 2 hours of cooking, remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 15 minutes to allow some light browning of the top of the chicken. Be sure to taste the sauce for flavor and spice; adjust seasoning as desired (you may wish to add extra salt or chili powder).

  14. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, tahini, chopped dill, lemon juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Slowly stream in cold water and whisk until smooth; sauce should have no clumps and be easy to drizzle.

  15. Serve chicken family-style with yogurt sauce spooned on top. Garnish with extra chopped dill.