Apple Cider Brined Chicken with Kale and Sourdough Croutons
Yield: 4-6 servings (with leftovers)
for the brine:
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 ½ pounds (6 to 8 large) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
for the main dish:
  • 4 tbl unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 bunches Lacinato kale, roughly chopped
  • 10 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tbl fresh thyme
  • ½ a large crusty loaf sourdough bread, cubed
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, cut into quarters
  • 1½ cups apple cider
  1. Brine the chicken: in a large bowl, combine ½ cup salt and ½ cup sugar. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour over the sugar and salt, whisking to dissolve. Add the apple cider and let the mixture cool (if in a rush, toss some ice cubes into the bowl). Add the chicken and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make sure all of your vegetables and herbs are chopped and ready.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and dry it with a paper towel. You can leave it on a plate in the fridge for up to a day until ready to start cooking.
  4. Heat the oven to 400˚F and set out a large rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Heat 2 tbl of the butter in a large, wide pot or high-sided sauté pan. Add the chicken, skin side down and cook over medium-high heat until the skin is golden brown. Turn over and cook another minute – you are not cooking it all the way through just getting some color. Remove chicken to a plate.
  6. Add the remaining 2 tbl of butter to the pan. Stir in the onion, carrots and celery and season generously with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, deglazing the pan halfway through with about ½ cup of apple cider.
  7. Add the kale and herbs to the pan, season again with salt and tossing everything together. Deglaze again with another ½ cup of cider and cook 5-7 minutes until kale is just slightly wilted.
  8. If your pan is big enough add the cubed bread and prunes. If it is not, put the bread and prunes in a large bowl and add the vegetables, tossing well.
  9. Spread the mixture out on the rimmed baking sheet and nestle in the pieces of chicken. Pour the final ½ cup apple cider evenly over top and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Bake 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through (165˚F on a thermometer) carrots are tender and some of the bread has gotten crusty. Serve immediately but plan for leftovers because this is so good the next day.
Recipe by Eat Some Wear Some at