Crispy Braised Chicken with Wild Rice & Kale

The most wonderful chicken meal for the entire winter season. It’s crispy braised chicken with wild rice & kale – healthy, approachable, and all sorts of comforting.

Crispy Braised Chicken

Crispy Braised Chicken

Can you believe we are just a couple of weeks to Christmas?! I hope everyone is fitting in all of the festive things on these weekends leading up to the holiday. I sure am soaking in every minute of it.

Last night, we had a very relaxing girl’s night and made this cozy ribollita soup and of course some homemade hot chocolate. We watched The Holiday (definitely one of the best Christmas movies) and literally just relaxed.

The soup is easy to make and really satisfying. It got me thinking that those are truly the best kinds of meals for these busy weeks ahead (in between all the festive pastas and Christmas cookies…).

Enter this crispy braised chicken.

Crispy Braised Chicken

The biggest trick to this recipe is letting the chicken come to room temperature first, and then very slowly crisping the skin. It might seem like to get a crispy skin on chicken you should cook it quickly over high heat, but really…that will just leave you with burnt patches and rubbery skin…

The key is to get a little bit of oil hot over medium heat, place the chicken in skin-side down first, then lower the heat. It takes a bit of time (about 6-8 minutes), but eventually the skin will brown and crisp up, turning into all sorts of delicious.

From there, you’ll saute some vegetables, create an easy little braising liquid, and let the chicken gently simmer for about 30 minutes. This is the perfect time to cook the rice and prepare the garnishes.

It all comes together into a really hearty meal that’s light enough to still feel good about it. I think you will LOVE this. Bonus: it makes the best leftovers.


Crispy Braised Chicken with Wild Rice & Kale

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a healthy winter meal of crispy braised chicken with wild rice & kale

serves: 6

  • Author: Kayla Howey



Crispy Braised Chicken

  • 4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt, as needed
  • freshly cracked black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 3 shallots, cored and quartered
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Wild Rice

  • 2 cups wild rice, rinsed
  • 4 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • kosher salt, as needed


  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 radishes, thinly shaved
  • fresh dill leaves
  • flaky sea salt (optional)


Crispy Braised Chicken

  1. Let the chicken sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Pat the skin dry. Season on all sides generously with salt and black pepper. Distribute the fresh sage over the chicken on top of the skin. Press down so it sticks.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add a few pieces of chicken, skin-side down (you don’t want to overcrowd the pot; work in batches so each piece of chicken has plenty of room to crisp).
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low and let the chicken skin slowly crisp. It should take about 6-8 minutes. If you notice it browning too quickly, reduce the heat to low. Once golden and crisp, flip the chicken over. Cook for another minute or so. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken, adding a little more oil if needed. Once each batch is done, transfer all the chicken to the plate.
  4. To the same pot with the chicken drippings, add another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and leeks. Sauté for a couple minutes until caramelized. Season with a pinch of salt. Stir in the garlic and kale. Let the kale begin to wilt.
  5. Pour in the wine and add the thyme sprigs. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. Bring the wine to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock.
  6. Add the chicken back in. Try to keep most of the chicken skin above the liquid. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot, leaving a corner open for the steam to escape. Simmer on low for about 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Discard the thyme sprigs.

Wild Rice

  1. Meanwhile, combine the wild rice, chicken stock, olive oil, thyme sprigs, and a pinch of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let cook for 40 minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Discard the thyme sprigs.
  3. Taste the rice and season with more salt if needed. Keep warm until serving.

To Assemble

  1. Mound the rice into a large serving bowl or platter. Place the chicken onto the rice, spooning all of the sauce and vegetables over top. Garnish with the toasted walnuts, shaved radishes, and fresh dill.
  2. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over top (optional).


You can also serve this on individual plates. It makes really good leftovers, so even I’m just cooking for a couple of people, it’s great to make the whole recipe and heat up leftovers all week long.

Crispy Braised Chicken

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