This Latin Braised Chicken Recipe are made with drumsticks, red onions, garlic, celery, broth, tomatoes, limes, and cilantro.
Braising is a moist-heat cooking method that helps to lock in the moisture and flavors of the chicken while creating a rich, savory sauce. The slow cooking process allows the chicken to become very tender and juicy, with the flavors of the liquid and other ingredients infusing into the meat. Braised chicken is often served with the reduced cooking liquid, which has been thickened to create a luscious sauce. It can be served over a variety of starches, such as rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes, and is often garnished with fresh herbs for a burst of color and flavor. Braised chicken is a popular dish in many cuisines around the world and can be made with various cuts of chicken, such as thighs, legs, or breasts.
Braising is one of the easiest ways to infuse delicious flavors into food. It is perfect for days when you don’t want to spend too much concentration on your dish and requires minimum attention. I love slow cooked bone-in chicken and this is by far one of my favorites. This is a one pot recipe which makes cleanup that much easier. This is one of the easiest recipes, especially if you are feeding a family. Not only is it tasty, it is also super healthy. This is an easy weeknight meal and fuss-free. I love to serve them with some broccoli on the side. This dish will become a part of your regular meals, all it takes it one time, and you’ll be hooked.
What is Braised Chicken?
Braised chicken is a cooking technique where chicken pieces are first seared and then slowly cooked in a liquid until they become tender and flavorful. The chicken is typically browned in a hot pan with some fat, such as oil or butter, to develop a rich crust and enhance the flavor. Then, a liquid, such as broth, wine, or a combination of both, is added to the pan along with other ingredients like vegetables, herbs, and spices. The chicken is then covered and cooked on low heat, either on the stovetop or in the oven, for an extended period of time, allowing the flavors to meld and the chicken to become fork-tender.
Why you will love this recipe
Full of flavor: Braising might be my favorite way to make chicken drumsticks because by the end, the meat falls off the bone and it is so full of flavor.
Hearty: This chicken is so hearty and healthy and pairs with so many dishes.
Great for all weather: You can enjoy these drumsticks in the summer or winter months.
Braised Chicken Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Olive oil
- Chicken Drumsticks
- Red onion
- Chicken broth
See recipe card for Latin Braised Chicken Drumsticks quantities.
How to make Braised Chicken
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. The longer you salt the chicken the tastier it will be. Add olive oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. When oil is hot, add the chicken and brown for 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
In the same pan, add more oil if needed. Add the onion, garlic, celery and salt and cook for 4 minutes. Add the diced tomato, oregano, chicken broth and salt and pepper.
Stir, reduce heat to low heat, and cook for an hour.
When the chicken is ready, squeeze half a lime into the sauce and stir. Garnish with cilantro.
What to serve with Braised Chicken
- Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that complements the rich flavors of braised chicken. You can make regular mashed potatoes or try variations like garlic mashed potatoes, cheesy mashed potatoes, or even sweet potato mash for a twist.
- Rice or Pasta: Serve braised chicken over a bed of fluffy white rice, fragrant basmati rice, or Cilantro Lime Rice. You can also serve it with pasta, such as egg noodles, fettuccine, or penne, for a comforting and satisfying meal.
- Vegetables: Steamed or roasted vegetables make a great side dish for braised chicken. You can use a variety of vegetables such as carrots, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or broccoli. Season them with herbs, garlic, or a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor.
- Bread: Crusty bread or dinner rolls are perfect for mopping up the delicious braising liquid from the chicken. You can serve slices of baguette, a loaf of artisan bread, or even homemade biscuits for a hearty and satisfying side.
- Salad: A fresh and crisp salad can balance the richness of braised chicken. Serve a Peach Burrata Salad or a White Bean Arugula Salad.
- Olive oil: You can substitute vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted butter for olive oil in the recipe.
- Chicken drumsticks: You can use other chicken cuts such as thighs, legs, or bone-in chicken breasts if drumsticks are not available.
- Red onion: If red onion is not available, you can use yellow or white onion as a substitute.
- Garlic: If fresh garlic is not available, you can use garlic powder or minced garlic from a jar as a substitute. Typically, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove of garlic.
- Celery: If celery is not available, you can use carrots, bell peppers, or fennel as a substitute for a similar crunch and flavor.
- Oregano: If oregano is not available, you can use dried thyme, dried basil, or dried rosemary as a substitute.
- Chicken broth: If chicken broth is not available, you can use vegetable broth or beef broth as a substitute. You can also dissolve chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon cubes in water to make broth.
- Tomato: You can use canned or fresh diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, or tomato puree as a substitute.
- Lime: If lime is not available, you can use lemon as a substitute for a similar citrusy tang.
- Cilantro: If cilantro is not available or you don't like the taste, you can use parsley, basil, or mint as a substitute for fresh herbs.
Braised Chicken Recipe Variations
- Lemon-Herb Braised Chicken: In this variation, you can substitute the lime with lemon and use fresh thyme or rosemary instead of oregano. Add some lemon zest for extra brightness and flavor.
- Spicy Braised Chicken: For a kick of heat, you can add diced jalapenos or red pepper flakes to the recipe. Adjust the amount to your desired level of spiciness. You can also use a spicy tomato sauce or add some hot sauce for an extra fiery twist.
- Mediterranean-Inspired Braised Chicken: Use olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes in addition to the listed ingredients for a Mediterranean flair. Add some artichoke hearts or roasted red peppers for additional depth of flavor.
- Mexican-Style Braised Chicken: Add cumin, chili powder, and paprika to the recipe for a Mexican twist. You can also use diced tomatoes with green chilies or a can of chipotle in adobo sauce for a smoky and spicy flavor profile. Serve with rice or tortillas and top with chopped cilantro for a burst of freshness.
- Thai-Inspired Braised Chicken: Use coconut milk instead of chicken broth, and add Thai red curry paste, lemongrass, and fish sauce for a fragrant and aromatic Thai-inspired dish. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with jasmine rice for an authentic Thai meal.
- Moroccan-Spiced Braised Chicken: Add warming spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and coriander to the recipe for a Moroccan twist. You can also add dried apricots, raisins, or preserved lemons for a touch of sweetness and tanginess. Serve with couscous or quinoa and garnish with fresh cilantro for an exotic twist.
- Dutch Oven or Braising Pan: A heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid is essential for braising. It allows for even heat distribution and retains moisture, which helps to tenderize the chicken.
- Chef's Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for cutting and preparing the chicken, as well as chopping the vegetables and herbs.
- Cutting Board: A cutting board provides a safe and clean surface for cutting and prepping the ingredients.
- Tongs or a Spatula: Tongs or a spatula are useful for flipping the chicken and stirring the ingredients during the cooking process.
- Measuring Spoons and Cups: Accurate measurements of ingredients are important in cooking, so having measuring spoons and cups on hand can help ensure the right proportions of spices, liquids, and other ingredients.
- Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula: A wooden spoon or silicone spatula can be used for stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and promote even cooking.
- Oven or Stovetop: Braised chicken can be cooked on the stovetop or in the oven, depending on the recipe. Make sure you have the appropriate equipment and heat source available.
- Oven Mitts: If using an oven, oven mitts are essential for safely handling hot cookware.
- Serving Platter: A serving platter or dish is useful for presenting the finished braised chicken when it's ready to be served.
- Meat Thermometer: A meat thermometer can help ensure that the chicken is cooked to the proper internal temperature, which is 165°F (74°C) for chicken, to ensure it's safe to eat.
How to store Braised Chicken
- Allow the braised chicken to cool down to room temperature before storing it. Hot or warm food can raise the temperature of the refrigerator and may cause other items to spoil.
- Transfer the braised chicken to an airtight container or a storage bag. Make sure the container or bag is clean and dry, and that it has a tight seal to prevent air and moisture from entering.
- Store the braised chicken in the refrigerator. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you need to store it for a longer period of time, consider freezing it (see next step).
- If you plan to store the braised chicken for a longer period, consider freezing it. You can transfer the cooled braised chicken to a freezer-safe container or bag, label it with the date, and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
- When storing braised chicken, it's important to separate the chicken from the braising liquid, especially if you're planning to store it for an extended period. This helps to prevent the chicken from becoming too soft or mushy.
- If you're storing the chicken with the braising liquid, make sure to strain the liquid and remove any solids, such as vegetables or herbs, to prevent them from becoming soggy.
- When reheating leftover braised chicken, make sure to heat it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it's safe to eat.
- Always use safe food handling practices, such as washing your hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly when handling and storing braised chicken to prevent cross-contamination.
Braised Chicken Recipe Top tips
- Choose the right cut of chicken: For braising, it's best to use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, such as drumsticks, thighs, or chicken legs. The bone and skin add flavor and help to keep the chicken moist during the long cooking process.
- Brown the chicken: Before braising, sear the chicken in hot oil or butter to develop a rich color and deepen the flavor. This step adds depth and complexity to the final dish.
- Use the right cooking vessel: A heavy-bottomed pot or a braising pan with a tight-fitting lid is ideal for braising. It allows for even heat distribution and retains moisture, resulting in tender and juicy chicken.
- Layer flavors: Layering flavors is key to a delicious braised chicken dish. Start with aromatics such as onions, garlic, and celery, and sauté them until softened before adding other ingredients. This builds a foundation of flavor for the dish.
- Use low and slow cooking method: Braising is a slow cooking method that requires low heat over a longer period of time. This allows the flavors to meld together and the chicken to become tender and juicy. Avoid high heat, as it may result in tough and dry chicken.
- Keep the lid on: Once you've added the braising liquid, keep the lid on the pot or pan during most of the cooking time. This helps to retain the moisture and flavors in the dish, resulting in succulent and tender chicken.
- Season properly: Taste and adjust the seasoning of the braised chicken as needed. Add salt, pepper, herbs, and spices gradually, tasting as you go to achieve the desired flavor profile.
- Let it rest: Once the braised chicken is cooked, allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and moist dish.
- Serve with accompaniments: Consider serving braised chicken with complementary side dishes, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread, to complete the meal.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove