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Cider Brined Chicken Thighs with Roasted Apples and Watercress

Make this recipe with me on the Dishing up Durham show! Watch Season 1 - Episode 8.

Featuring: Banjo Cider Citizen Cider and #5 Doppelgänger 

2 cups Banjo Cider Citizens Cider

1 cup Banjo Cider #5 Doppelgänger

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

2 bay leaves 

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp salt 

1 tbsp sugar 

1 cup cold water 

1 cup crushed ice 

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tbsp honey (or reserved cider reduction from poached pears - see episode 7) 

1 large honey crisp apple, cored and cut into 8 wedges 

2 cups watercress (or any salad greens of your choosing) 

1 tbsp olive oil 

● Pour ciders into a small sauce pot, add thyme, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, salt and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from heat and stir in water and ice. Let brine cool completely before using. (Brine can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)

● Place chicken thighs in a large mixing bowl or baking dish and cover completely with cooled brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours but no longer than 6 hours. 

● Remove brined thighs from liquid and gently wash them under cold running water and pat dry with paper towel. Discard brining liquid.

● Preheat oven to 425°F. 

● Place thighs skin side down in a cast iron skillet, set over medium heat, and cook until fat begins to render from the chicken skin, then increase heat to medium-high and continue cooking until skin is golden brown. Turn thighs over, add apple wedges and brush skin with honey (or, alternatively, reserved cider reduction). Transfer skillet to oven and roast until thighs reach an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant read thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes. 

● Toss watercress with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper, then plate on a large platter, arrange thighs and roasted apples on top and serve immediately. 

Serves 3

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