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Crispy Chicken Thighs with Creamy Balsamic-Garlic Sauce

Updated on August 21, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.


Sighs for the thighs

Do you have a plan for dinner each evening?

Do you wake up in the morning knowing that you will remove a package of "X" from the freezer, or purchase "A, B, or C" at the grocery store? I usually have a plan—a plan that takes into consideration items in the pantry or freezer, leftovers in the refrigerator, or what is on sale today at the grocers or produce stand. I like to have a plan, to have things neat, tidy, and well-ordered. In a glass half-full or half-empty sort of world I am either (a) well-organized and thoughtful, or (b) I lack spontaneity.

My dear husband is a bit more of a free spirit--a drive-with-the-top-down sort of guy. Me? I'm a worrier, a thinker, a planner. Typically my left brain budget analyst overcomes my right-brain artist.

But today was different. Today I allowed my right-brain to come to the forefront and the result was...well, I'll let you decide.

It all began with a half-jar of Alfredo sauce. That such a thing was existing in my refrigerator without a plan is in itself a bit of a miracle which can only be explained away by a traffic jam of Herculean proportions late last week which did not allow me to proceed with dinner-as-planned.

What kind brand of Alfredo sauce doesn't matter. What is important is that I didn't cook a pot of pasta. (No fettuccine were harmed in the production of this meal)

I served our chicken and sauce over garlic mashed potatoes, but you could use noodles or rice if you prefer.

By the way, Mr. "drive-with-the-top-down" really liked this—enough to make comment (he usually doesn't) so I'm thinking this was a successful journey from my left-brain norm.

Cast your vote for crispy chicken thighs

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: serves 2 (amounts may be doubled)


  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, large
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry, (see note below for non-alcohol substitutes)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic, (less of you're not a garlic lover)
  • 1/2 jar alfredo sauce, about 1 cup
  1. Remove the skin and excess fat from the chicken thighs. Place the thighs in a large (freezer-size) zip-lock bag. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours before serving. (Note: it helps to squish the bag a bit to distribute the vinegar over all of the chicken pieces).
  2. When ready to begin cooking heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Next, heat a large oven-safe sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Remove the chicken thighs from the zip-lock bag--discard the bag and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off the excess, and place in the sauté pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until well-browned. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F.
  5. Remove the chicken to a platter and return the sauté pan to your stovetop. (Careful--that handle is super-hot!).
  6. Using medium-high heat, add cooking sherry to the pan and stir to deglaze (that means that you are using a liquid to un-stick all of those wonderful flavor bits at the bottom of the pan). This should take just a few seconds. Add the chicken broth and minced garlic and then bring down the heat to low.
  7. Stir in the Alfredo sauce and then return the cooked chicken to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes (2 or 3) so that the chicken soaks up a bit of the flavors in the sauce. That's it.

What makes this recipe work?

  • Marinating the chicken in balsamic allows the sweet/savory flavor of the vinegar to permeate the meat.
  • A light dusting of flour helps to seal in the juices. AND, it also helps to create those roasty little bits that cling to the bottom of the pan . In French cooking this is called "fond".
  • Sherry unglues the "fond" from the bottom of the pan. With a gentle application of heat the fond then melts and introduces huge amounts of complex flavors into the sauce.

What If You Don't Want to Use Sherry?

  • Apple cider
  • One tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon water
  • One Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. water

© 2013 Linda Lum


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    • Jmillis2006 profile image

      Jmillis2006 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This sounds delicious , I am going to try it soon.