Nothing says “Hello autumn” like cooked apples! We cook and bake with apples year-round, but these fall favorites make regular appearances in our kitchen when the leaves start to change. This weekend, we baked chicken thighs with apples in a totally cold-weather-inspired sauce…sweet maple syrup and tart apple cider, spiced with a hint of ginger.
8 medium bone-in chicken thighs
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 medium apples, cored and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté chicken, skin side down, 4 to 5 minutes until skin is golden brown. Turn and cook 3 minutes. Transfer chicken thighs to prepared baking dish. Scatter apples over chicken. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions 3 to 5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Stir in apple cider, apple cider vinegar, ginger and thyme. Season with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Bring cider mixture to a slow boil. Add maple syrup and stir continuously 3 to 4 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Pour sauce over chicken and apples.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Uncover. Spoon sauce over chicken. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until apples are tender. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs before serving.