Chicken is browned and braised with shiitakes, peas and pearly...

Chicken is browned and braised with shiitakes, peas and pearly onions (October 2021) Credit: Marge Perry

All it takes to achieve weeknight dinner nirvana is one skillet, chicken, and a bunch of your favorite vegetables. Cook up this healthier version of chicken Fricassee tonight, and it will become a regular player in your autumn meal rotation.

The key to making this extraordinarily delicious, family-friendly dinner is to brown the ingredients individually before they get braised in the liquid. Don’t try to shortcut this step — truly, it is 15 minutes or so that is well-spent. Browning the ingredients intensifies the flavor and brings out the inherent sweetness. This dinner can be on the table in about 45 minutes (which includes some unattended cooking time). And, at the end of the night, there is only one pan to wash.

One-pan chicken with mushrooms

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

12 ounces shiitake or other mushrooms, cut in ½-inch thick slices

¾ teaspoon salt, divided

12 ounces red or white baby new potatoes, cut in ½-inch wedges

1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (rice flour may be substituted)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ cups unsalted chicken broth

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes until softened. Add the potatoes and cook without stirring until the underside is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pearl onions, garlic and thyme, and cook until the onions are softened and golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

2. Toss the chicken with the flour, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium high, and add the chicken skin side down. Cook until the skin is browned and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken skin side up.

3. Return the vegetables to the pan, placing them all around the chicken. Pour the broth in the pan around but not over the chicken. Increase the heat to bring the liquid to a boil, then immediately reduce it to a gentle simmer and cover the pan. Simmer until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching the bone) reads 170 degrees, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook another 3 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings

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