No one ever seems to do this beloved dish justice. We were determined to change that. Ours benefits from a good hit of acid in the form of apple cider vinegar and a splash of umami: soy sauce. Searing the chicken first gives it a deeper flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using paper towels, pat the chicken dry. Place the chicken on a large platter and season both sides heavily with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Use tongs to lay the chicken, skin-side down, in the hot oil, working in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding and promote even browning.
- Sear, undisturbed, for 7 to 8 minutes, until well browned, and flip. Cook on the second side for 3 to 5 minutes more, until browned. Set aside the chicken on a large plate.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the onion, thyme, and garlic to the pot. Toss with the fat from the chicken and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the apricots and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar to the pot and deglaze, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2 minutes more.
- Whisk in the stock, brown sugar, and soy sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and return the seared chicken to the pot, tossing with the sauce and onions.
- Arrange the chicken skin-side up and put the pot, uncovered, in the center of the oven.
- Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a thigh registers 165°F. Transfer the chicken to a large rimmed platter or shallow bowl and pour the sauce and onions over the top to smother it.
- Leftover chicken will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reprinted from Eat Something by Evan Bloom with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020