Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannellini Beans and Greens {recipe} – THUNDER THIGHS

crispy braised chicken thighs with beans and greens
You can make this dish either starting with dried beans and slow cooking them first in the pot then adding the browned chicken after to finish cooking, or with canned/cooked beans that you add to the end of braising the chicken. Most (week)nights, the canned bean version cooks MUCH faster, but when you have the time and, obviously, the foresight to plan to soak beans the night before, etc, the dried bean version FEELS much better. Once you’ve done both, you’ll understand the difference.crispy braised chicken thighs with beans and greens

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannellini Beans and Greens {recipe}

makes 8 thighs or about 4 main dish servings


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
salt and pepper
grapeseed or other neutral-flavor high-heat oil for cooking
1 medium onion, sliced length-wise
4-5 cloves garlic
couple sprigs each of fresh parsley and thyme
¼ cup light, dry white wine
1-2 quarts rich chicken stock (you will not use it all)
4-5 cups roughly chopped or torn leaves of greens like kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, I used golden beet greens
1 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight with a few tablespoons salt, or 4 cans cannellini beans

optional: olive oil, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh parsley leaves


In a pot or pan with sides at least 4-inches high that will hold the chicken thighs in a single layer, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. I have made this dish in a Dutch oven, a high-sided braiser, and even a cast iron skillet.

Thoroughly dry chicken thighs and salt and pepper both sides, generously on the skin-side. Place chicken thighs in pot with skin side down. It will sizzle a lot, don’t worry do not touch the chicken thighs once they are in the pot. Brown the skin-side until dark golden, about 8 minutes. If the pot starts to smoke or smells like the chicken is burning, turn the heat down a little.

(Every recipe I’ve ever read for crispy chicken thighs instructs you to brown the skin side for a mere 3 to 4 minutes which must be some sort of CYA insurance for burning the chicken since you can always cook something a little more later, but you can’t undo anything that’s overcooked, let alone burnt. Be brave. Embrace the dark brown. Go for the full 8 minutes.)

Flip chicken thighs over and brown the “underside” for about 5 minutes. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.

Turn stove’s heat down to medium and add onions to pot. Cook until translucent, then add garlic and herbs. Stir and cook until onions and garlic are lightly browned. Add white wine to the pot and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of pot (the wine will help loosen the bits).

If You Are Using Canned Beans:

Return the browned chicken thighs to the pot, nestling them down between the cooked onions, skin-side up. Add enough chicken stock to cover the onions and garlic and about ¾ up the sides of the chicken thighs, leaving the chicken skin out of the stock. Turn up the heat, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer the chicken for 25 minutes.

Drain the canned beans and give them a rinse. Pour the canned beans into the pot around the chicken thighs. You may need to gently wiggle the thighs up and out of the beans and braising liquid to make sure the skin doesn’t get submerged. Add more stock if necessary. Simmer beans and chicken together for 10 minutes, stir in the greens, and simmer for additional 10 minutes until greens are tender.

If You Are Using Dried Beans:

Add dried beans to the onions and garlic in the pot. Add enough chicken stock to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Turn up heat, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer the beans for 45 minutes.

Place the browned chicken thighs, skin-side up, into the beans, nestling them into the beans slightly so that the skins are still showing. Cook at a simmer, uncovered, for another 35 minutes, until beans are tender, adding more stock to the pot if the beans start to get too dry. Taste the beans and season with additional salt (and/or pepper) to taste. Carefully stir greens into the beans around the chicken and simmer for additional 10 minutes until greens are tender.

To Serve Chicken Thighs with Beans and Greens:

Serve beans and greens in shallow bowls with chicken thighs on top. Add a drizzle of olive oil (for the omega-3 balance!), squeeze of fresh lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley.

crispy braised chicken thighs with beans and greens


  • chicken: from Puritan Poultry/Marconda’s in the Original Farmers’ Market at 3rd/Fairfax, LA
  • I use grapeseed oil for this dish, but any neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point (coconut, avocado) is great
  • chicken stock is homemade, but any organic, low-sodium store-bought is ok, too
  • canned beans: anything organic, and you can use white kidney or Great Northern beans, too
  • dried beans: Rancho Gordo, duh
  • any and all produce, organic, from local farmers’ markets or Whole Foods Market


  • Coq au Vin, French Country-style Red-Wine Braised Chicken {recipe}
  • Chicken Cacciatore, Italian Hunter’s Chicken Stew with Tomato and Peppers {recipe}
  • Dak Jjim, Korean Soy Braised Chicken and Vegetables {recipe}
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