Inaugural Recipe in My Staub Braiser: Spanish Chicken with Sherry, Oranges, and Castelvetrano Olives

To test out my new Staub braising pan, I went for an old favorite: a Bon Appétit recipe that I’ve been making for years; it combines chicken with sherry, oranges, and olives for a quick, simple-and-sublime Spanish chicken dish.

A great Spanish recipe for a great French pan.

A great Spanish recipe for a great French pan.

What?, you ask. Spanish cooking on a French-food blog? Hey! I spend a lot of time in Southern France, just a stone’s throw from Spain; I enjoy plenty of Spanish influences there. Any surprise they make their way into my cooking?

Me, in the Rousillon region of France, a stone's throw from Spain.

Me, in the Rousillon region of France, a stone’s throw from Spain.

The original recipe is here. Since the recipe was published about 10 years ago, Castelvetrano olives have become more widely available, and that’s what I suggest you use nowadays. To my palate, they have a fresher, fruitier taste that’s a better match for the sweet-tart spark you get with the oranges. I’ve also reworked the recipe just a bit to fit perfectly in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart braising pan.

BTW: So far, I’ve made three recipes in the Staub Braiser, and my enthusiasm for this pan continues to mount. I love the black interior (superior browning! no staining!). I love the pan’s beauty. See my full review of the Staub braising pan, if you’re interested.

Chicken with Sherry, Oranges, and Castelvetrano Olives 

Castelvetrano olives. They're easy to find. I promise.

Castelvetrano olives. They’re easy to find. I promise.

Adapted for the braising pan* from Bon Appétit magazine.

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced shallots (about 3 large)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1 orange, halved lengthwise, each half cut into 5 wedges
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 3 1/2 to 4-quart braiser* over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a platter.

2. Leave the drippings in the skillet, but drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallots and cook until wilted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sherry, chicken stock, and 1 tablespoon of the honey. Bring to a boil, stirring to loosen the browned bits clinging to the pan.

3. Return the chicken, skin side up, to the pan. Place the orange wedges and olives around the chicken pieces. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through (180°F).

4. Transfer the chicken to a platter; cover to keep warm. Bring the sauce to boil over medium-high heat; stir in the remaining honey and boil briefly until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce, oranges, and olives over the chicken. Makes 4 servings.

* If you don’t have a braising pan, see my post on How to Braise without a Braiser.

A few comments:

Love the browning abilities of the Staub braiser.

Love the browning abilities of the Staub braiser.


Shallots. Lots of them. Don't stint, as they become mellow and rich and wonderful as they cook.

Shallots.Don’t stint, as they become mellow and rich and wonderful as they cook. Leave those browned bits in the pan–you’ll need them to make the sauce extra rich.

Make It a Menu

I suggest serving this with my Any-Night Baked Rice. It’s also a good time to serve a cheese course after the meal, with a bright and perky vinaigrette-tossed salad. That way, you don’t have to come up with another vegetable to put on the main-dish plate with all these other terrific flavors. Tapping into the theme of this meal, Spanish cheeses would be lovely; I might suggest Manchego (sheep’s milk), Drunken Goat (goat’s milk), and Cabrales (cow’s milk, or sometimes a blend).

Start with the evening off with my Happy-Hour Crackers. For dessert, try my easy Crème Caramel (page 336 of the Bonne Femme Cookbook), which is essentially the same as a Spanish flan.

Other Recipes I’ve Recently Made in My Braiser

A French Recipe for Pork Shoulder (With Orange, Dried Cherries, and Herbes de Provence)
Smothered Flat-Iron Steaks (A fabulous recipe adapted from Molly Stevens’s book, “All About Braising.”
French Wine-Braised Short Ribs Classic!

Happy braising, friends!


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7 comments to Inaugural Recipe in My Staub Braiser: Spanish Chicken with Sherry, Oranges, and Castelvetrano Olives

  • Susan

    Wini: I’m a huge fan. I have your braiser cookbook. I have a Le Creuset braiser. I’ve made tons of your recipes. But I have a huge dilemma! I can’t get the chicken thighs to brown! I’ve tried hotter and less hot, turning them often and less so. But inevitably the skin comes off and the chicken thighs are light brown at best–certainly not the golden color of your photos. Help! Susan

    • Wini

      Hi Susan. Arg–how frustrating about the chicken skin! Sorry you’re having this issue.

      First of all, pat the chicken dry–bone dry!–before you brown it. Then, I think moderately high heat is best, but also try using more oil. Perhaps your chicken skin isn’t giving out as much fat as mine do. So, double the oil to brown the skin, and drain most of it off after browning. Extra oil will keep the skin from sticking to the pan (and hence, keep it from falling off). Also, use a very thin spatula to get under the skin to turn it.

      Also–don’t clip away any extra skin. I often do that in my recipes if the skin looks excessive, but if you’re having trouble with the skin falling off, it might be best to leave it on.

      One more thing: Patience. It can take chicken a while to brown the way you like it!

      I hope this works for you! Let me know.

  • Susan

    And also…this recipe is cooking in my oven as I write….

    • Wini

      I hope you love this recipe as much as I did. I can brag about it, because it’s not really “my” recipe–it’s a good-old reliable Bon Appétit recipe that I’ve probably made about 20 times! Let me know what you think.

  • Barry

    Hi Wini– So, after nearly a year, any additional thoughts and insights re the Staub braiser? How do you think it would work for making a batch of steamed mussels, e.g., moules mariniere?

    • Wini

      I adore my Staub braiser; in fact, the one reason I’m not sad that summer is over is that braising season has begun!

      Seriously, the Staub Braiser is a fixture on top of my stove–it’s my go-to pan, even for tasks like sauteing. It would be fabulous for Moules Mariniere. In fact, I think the wide, shallow base would work better than a deep, less-wide Dutch oven, because you need less water when steaming.

      Thanks for asking.

      PS: Last night, I boiled corn on the cob in the braiser–that’s how much I use it all the time, for everything. (It only holds about 4 cobs, so if you’re cooking more, a large stockpot would be best in this case).

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