The Game-Changing Method For Succulent Braised Chicken In Half The Time

Everyone loves a juicy, flavorful piece of braised chicken, but a lot of people don't love the time commitment. Braising has the advantage of being a largely hands-off form of cooking, however, the low-and-slow method that results in the most tender chicken can take an hour or more to cook your meat through. When you factor in prep time, that just isn't a realistic undertaking for most nights of the week. Thankfully here at Tasting Table, we have recipe developers like Michelle McGlinn, who created a cheater's braised chicken curry that utilizes a clever trick to cut the time it takes to braise chicken thighs in half. That method forgoes the normal searing of the thighs, and instead opts for cooking the chicken in the oven dry before adding the braising liquid.

This braising method retains all the advantages of braising — you still get that succulent chicken, and it all still happens in the oven, freeing you up to work on other things. But by opting for the high-heat of the oven to start instead of the stovetop, the chicken cooks more thoroughly when it browns. That means once you switch to the low heat of the braise, you have less of a distance to travel to fully cooked chicken. McGlinn's tikka masala-inspired recipe also utilizes a yogurt marinade to help tenderize the chicken before it goes in the oven, but even if you opt for another recipe, an oven start is a great trick for a quick braise.

Brown your chicken in the oven before braising to cut down the cooking time

Another big advantage of this method is it turns braising into a one-pot affair that you can do with any oven-safe pan. Just arrange your chicken in a dish, giving it enough room for air to circulate so each side of the chicken evenly crisps. It also helps to raise the chicken off the pan a little by setting it on top of a layer of vegetables or potatoes — which means your vegetables will brown up nicely, too. Cook the chicken at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes until the skin is nicely browned.

From there, turn the temperature of the oven down to 250 degrees and then just braise the chicken by adding whatever liquid your recipe called for, whether a Mediterranean lemon mixture or honey mustard. Cover the dish and cook for only 10 to 15 more minutes more. Just remember that with the shortened braising time, your liquid won't cook down as much, so you can cut down on how much you use if you need it to thicken in the pan. Outside of that one small adjustment, oven browning is an incredibly simple way to switch up your braising, and one that turns almost any recipe into an easy weeknight dinner.