Allspice Braised Chicken Thighs with Golden Raisins and Pearl Onions

Every so often I force myself to dig through my spice cabinet and reorganize, which is a game of Tetris considering this is what it looks like. That space measures a mere 12″x 18″, which I don’t think is even big enough to fit my cat Vinny.

Messy Spice CabinetWhile I’m deep in the bowels of Madras curry, garlic powder or Ryan’s “Man Spice” (which could be any number of store-bought spice blends like Emeril’s Essence), I’m usually scheming on how to use up the old to make way for more.  As we all know, spices go quickly and before you know it that canister of ground cumin starts to taste like dirt.  Mmmm.

A while back while on this mission, I pulled out the allspice and was thinking about what to do with this fragrant gem that could be savory, quick and easy.  At the same time, Kin Community was requesting some simple dishes for weeknight dinners.  This is what I came up with and if I do say so myself, it’s pretty damn good.

Serve this with any number of starches; rice, pasta, potatoes, grits, polenta or a big toasty piece of bread to soak up all that delicious gravy.  You can even bulk it up by adding some greens like spinach or kale near the end of cooking to get your veggie nutrients.

Serves 4


4 bone-in chicken thighs

½-1 tsp allspice

Sea salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

¼ cup AP flour

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ bottle white wine

2 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

5 cloves garlic, minced

¾ lb pearl onions

½ cup golden raisins

2 sprigs thyme, tied with twine

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp heavy cream

¼ bunch parsley, chopped


Wash the chicken thighs and pat very dry.  Season both sides of the chicken with allspice, salt and pepper.  Place the flour in a bowl and dredge each chicken thigh through it to coat very well.  Shake off any excess flour and set aside.

Heat a deep skillet over high heat.  When the pan is smoking, add the olive oil.  Starting skin side down, sear the chicken until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Turn over each piece of chicken and sear the other side another 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the white wine, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  This step is imperative, since those morsels are what will give the braise its deep flavor.  Add the chicken stock, vinegar, honey, garlic, onions, raisins, thyme, bay leaves and seared chicken.  Season again with salt and pepper and bring back to a boil.

Turn down the heat to medium low and cover.  Cook until the bone becomes slightly loose and the chicken is cooked, approximately 15-20 minutes.

When the chicken is done, remove the thyme and bay leaves and discard.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop the chicken, onions and raisins onto a platter and tent with foil.  Turn the heat back up to high to reduce the cooking liquid by half.  Remove from the heat and add the cream.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.