Pickle-Braised Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower Rice

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For many years I only purchased, cooked and ate chicken breasts and only rarely would prepare a whole chicken. I’m not sure why, except that I thought I liked white meat best. Don’t get me wrong, I like all parts of the chicken – even the liver and gizzards! – and ate them all, but I was stuck on mainly preparing the breast meat.

I think many of our food habits are just that…habits. I was likely subconsciously reacting to the loudly stated but quite wrong idea that the white meat, skinless at that, was healthier. Though I was never really on the low-fat bandwagon, it is difficult to be entirely uninfluenced by all the chatter.

When I began eating low carb, I found that the chicken thigh contained more fat, and since consuming adequate amounts of healthy fat is required on a low carb food plan, I began purchasing, cooking and eating more chicken thighs. Wow! So happy I did, because they are actually more flavorful than breast meat, and I have enjoyed some truly great recipes.

I love dill pickles, so I was immediately interested in giving this recipe a try. The dill pickle juice adds a wonderful briny flavor to this recipe. If you find the finished flavor is too strong for your tastes, it can be tempered by adding additional chicken broth when making the pan sauce.

I also love cauliflower “rice”, so I attached that as part of this recipe. Sometimes it is a challenge to think of what to prepare as a side dish with the main course, so I like finding recipes for a complete meal all-in-one. Hopefully, you like that idea too, so give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

cauliflower-rice

Nutrition Facts: Per Serving = Total Carbs 6 g; Protein 58 g; Fat 57 g; Calories 781

 

Pickle-Braised Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower Rice

The dill pickle juice adds a wonderful briny flavor to this recipe. If you find the finished flavor is too strong for your tastes, it can be tempered by adding additional chicken broth when making the pan sauce.

  • 2 T olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
  • 8 approx 3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 1/2 cup organic chicken broth (divided)
  • 3 T fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed, tough leaves and stems removed
  • 1 T olive oil (extra virgin)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large 12” oven-proof skillet with deep sides, heat one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Season the chicken thighs with freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Working in batches, place 4 chicken thighs in hot skillet, skin side down, and sear until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the bottom of the skillet. Turn thighs and repeat on the other side. 
  3. Remove browned chicken thighs from skillet and keep warm. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to pan and repeat process with the remaining 4 chicken thighs. 
  4. Once all 8 chicken thighs are browned, return the first 4 thighs to the pan. Arrange thighs in a single layer and add the pickle juice and ½ cup chicken broth to the pan.  
  5. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, then turn each thigh over with tongs and continue cooking another 30 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Once tender, remove chicken thighs from skillet to a separate platter. Cover and keep warm.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the cauliflower “rice” by breaking the cauliflower into florets. Pulse florets in a food processor or grate by hand with a rectangular box grater to create rice-sized pieces. 
  7. Once grated, dry cauliflower “rice” thoroughly by placing on paper towels or clean kitchen towels. Press lightly with another layer of paper towels or clean fabric to remove as much excess water as possible before cooking. 
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat before adding cauliflower. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and steam for approximately 5 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  9. To make the pan sauce, add remaining cup of chicken broth to the first skillet and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Scrape brown bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon and continue cooking until the sauce reduces by one-half. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. 
  10. Serve chicken thighs over a bed of cauliflower rice and drizzle with pan sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. 

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