Stock-and-Cider-Brined Chicken Over Stuffing

Stock-and-Cider-Brined Chicken Over Stuffing

This one-pan dinner is ugly — rustic, if we’re being kind — but good. Or as the Italians say, “brutta ma buona.” Truly, though, it’s everything you could ask for in a rich, comforting meal. As it cooks, the chicken, brined in stock and cider, drips its flavorful juices onto the bread. The bread absorbs every drop, turning into a chewy, savory nest cradling the tender, perfectly browned chicken. Each bit of stuffing offers a different surprise — sometimes the sweet-and-sour zing of a prune, other times the faint rumor of Thanksgiving whispered by celery and thyme. It’s as satisfying as you could ever hope, even if it isn’t particularly attractive.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the brine: Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or similar pan over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery and carrots, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are all tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and cool to room temperature in freezer.
  2. Step 2

    While the vegetables cool, cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Allow to dry out overnight.
  3. Step 3

    Combine the stock and cider in a large measuring cup and pour 1 1/2 cups of the mixture into a plastic gallon-size zipper bag. Add vegetables, remaining salt, prunes, vinegar and chicken thighs. Seal bag, and massage everything around to dissolve salt and combine. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining stock-cider mixture.
  4. Step 4

    To cook the chicken: Allow chicken to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 400. Scraping off brine and vegetables, remove chicken from bag, and set aside. Place brine with vegetables and remaining stock-cider mixture in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or similar pan, and bring to a boil.
  5. Step 5

    In a large bowl, combine cubed bread, vegetables and liquid, sage, parsley, thyme and greens, if using. Return pan to low heat, and add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to melt. Pack stuffing mixture into pan, and lay chicken thighs on top. Place pan onto a rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflow, and bake on lower rack for 50 to 55 minutes until chicken and stuffing are golden brown.
  6. Step 6

    Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.