Keep this highly adaptable recipe in your back pocket for any night you want a quick, one-pot meal. Our braised chicken blueprint needs only a cast iron skillet (with a lid!), some chicken (we prefer bone-in, skin-on thighs, but anything goes, really) and a few basic kitchen staples. For this recipe, we went in a Mediterranean direction with garlic, olives, and rosemary, but you can easily globetrot to Asia (ginger, sesame, soy), Mexico (chiles, peppers, lime), France (white wine, tarragon, dijon), Italy (tomatoes, basil, black olives), or anywhere your pantry guides you.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ cup pitted green olives, halved
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 strips of lemon zest
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped parsley
Heat the oil in a No.8 (10 ¼”) cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Pat the chicken skin dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, without disturbing, until the skin is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and add the garlic. Cook until the chicken is browned on the other side and the garlic is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken and garlic to a place.
Add the onion to the skillet, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Return the chicken and garlic to the skillet and add the olives, rosemary, bay leaf, and lemon zest. Add enough chicken stock to cover most of the chicken, leaving the skin exposed. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and braise until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. At this point you can finish the reserve and serve the chicken right away, or let it sit for up to 30 minutes, then rewarm it (and re-crisp the skin) under a broiler.
When ready to serve, stir the lemon juice into the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the braise with parsley and serve.