Maggie Beer

Braised Chook Thighs with Young Leeks, Bay Leaves and Verjuice

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Tip: At least one hour prior, trim leeks and soak them upside down in a jug of water to release any hidden soil.  This saves having to cut the leeks in half to be sure they are clean.

Step 1: Preheat a fan-forced to 200C

Step 2: Season the skin of the chicken thighs with sea salt and set aside for 20 minutes to allow the chicken to reach room temperature.

Step 3: Place the butter into a wide nonstick frypan suitable to go into the oven on medium heat and let the butter begin to sizzle, then add 1 Tbspn of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to inhibit burning.

Step 4: Once hot, place the thighs into the pan with the skin side down and fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown then turn over for and cook for a minute on the other dise. Remove and set aside. Keep any fat left behind in the pan and return to the heat.

Tip: Don’t overcrowd the frying pan as the thighs will start to stew, it is best to cook the thighs in two batches.

Step 5: Take the leeks from the water and dry them with a paper towel.

Step 6: In the same pan, gently fry the garlic turning to colour the garlic all at a medium to low temperature and then add the leeks and fry for 3 to 4 minutes more.

Step 7: Deglaze the pan with verjuice and add chicken stock, bay leaves, and thyme and reduce by half before adding the chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 8: Place into the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 9: Remove from the oven and allow a resting time of 10 minutes before serving the chicken with the leeks, garlic, and all the juices. This would be perfect to serve on a bed of creamy polenta.


  1. 6 large free range chicken thigh skin on and bone in
  2. 2 tbspn butter
  3. 6 young leeks 1 centimetre thick
  4. 6 garlic cloves peeled
  5. 80ml 1/3 cup Verjuice
  6. 500ml 2 cup Chicken Stock
  7. 6 sprigs lemon thyme

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