We have a lot of different chicken preferences in my family. White meat, dark meat, bone-in, skin on or off. Normally, I’d say that’s what roasting a whole chicken and dividing up parts are for, but there are some who don’t even like their meat juicy, so honestly, compromise is out.
But falling-apart chicken unites us. We’ve been raised on chicken soup and its offshoot, chicken fritz, for generations. But okay, so what is falling-apart chicken?
It’s a pot of chicken that’s been cooked forever, the chicken in the pot so tender you can fork over your knife. The too juicy problem certainly disappears with the long cooking time, but the chicken never gets dry, stewed as the pieces are in flavorful liquids like chicken broth, wine, and almond milk.
You could replace “falling-apart chicken” with chicken stew, chicken braise, or chicken tagine, if it helps. In some ways, Chicken Marbella qualifies as falling apart. Healthy Chicken Chili gets there too, as long as you help the process along by shredding the slow-cooked chicken thighs. Provencal Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas is probably closest to a beloved childhood dish–the standard in falling-apart-chicken–only minus the butternut squash, the chickpeas, and the Provencal herbs.
So, that one was plain. But as we all grew older and less afraid of flavor, Coriander Chicken entered the dinner rotation. Flavored with a whole lot of onions, a bunch of cilantro (cooked til mellow, for all you haters), cilantro’s dried cousin–ground coriander–and raisins that grow plump as the chicken cooks and cooks and cooks, the dinner was a one-pot pleaser. Mom used yogurt as some of the liquid and kept the pot on the stove the whole time. I didn’t have her recipe on hand, so I improvised a delightful new version of it, using unsweetened almond milk to keep the stew safe for dairy-free Alex.
I know it might not look like the chicken is falling apart behind that intact and golden skin, but that’s a front. Stick one fork in, and you’ll see.
You can totally make this in advance. Let the whole stew cool, then store in the fridge. Reheat on the stove or in the oven until hot. If you prefer white meat, bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, halved, work great. Or, do a mix and please everyone!
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro from 1 large bunch
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup raisins
2 cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze Almond Milk (you can also use original)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven or oven-proof skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper generously over all the chicken, then place the pieces, skin side down, in the pot. Don’t crowd the pot, so if you need to cook in two batches, do that instead. Be patient, and cook until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip each piece of chicken and cook for another 2 to 3. Transfer all the chicken to a plate (or the first batch, in which case now cook the second). Set the chicken aside when you’re done browning all of it.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Stir in most of the cilantro, the ground coriander, the cinnamon stick, the raisins, and the Almond Breeze almond milk. Season with a little more salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Arrange the chicken neatly back in the pot, keeping the skin side up. Transfer to the oven (you don’t need to cover the pot). Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick as you serve. Garnish each portion with the rest of the cilantro.
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!