Recipe: Chicken thighs with blackberries and balsamic sauce – a delicious whisk for whipping.

Large packs of bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs seem like a bargain compared to many other meat prices. Typically ten thighs fit in these giant containers, enough to fit comfortably in a single layer in a 9″ x 13″ metal brazier.

Yes, there is waste. I remember my grandmother collecting thigh bones from family plates and using them to make chicken broth. Not on the to-do list of most home cooks, but just saying those bare bones are worth it if you’re in a wild mood.

Pairing trimmed chicken thighs with blackberries is a delicious combination. The berries are mashed and then mixed with a little brown sugar, crushed garlic and white wine vinegar. This is a delicious sweet and sour mixture that complements the juicy bird.

Balsamic chicken thighs with blackberries

Harvest: 5 servings with two thighs, 10 servings with one thigh


10 chicken thighs with bones and skin, trimmed; see chef’s notes

3 tablespoons dry white wine mixed with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Coarse salt, such as kosher, and pepper to taste.

Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme, see chef’s notes

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

4 tablespoons pureed blackberries, see chef’s notes

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

To serve: 2 cups raw orzo pasta.

Garnish: Additional sprigs of fresh thyme and, if desired, a few fresh blackberries.

Cook’s Notes: Trim off excess chicken skin that hangs loose on the side. I use clean scissors for this; it’s much easier than cutting with a knife. Tear the leaves off the stems and discard the stems. Puree fresh or frozen blackberries in a food processor; you will need 4 to 5 ounces of blackberries.


1. Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, in a large ovenproof roasting dish. Mix the wine and balsamic and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle over thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Fry 35 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, blackberry puree, garlic and vinegar in a small bowl or a glass measuring cup with a handle. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the mixture to use after cooking the chicken.

3. Spread the remaining brown sugar mixture over the chicken and roast for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Take the chicken out of the fryer. Drain the juices from the pan into the grease separator and leave for a couple of minutes – the fat will float to the surface. If you don’t have a fat separator, pour into a measuring cup with a handle; let it rest and the fat will float to the surface and separate the fat with a spoon. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to prepare the orzo.

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