In this super-simple recipe for braised Buffalo-style chicken thighs, canned chipotle chiles combine with hot sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar to create a bold, gutsy sauce as the chicken cooks. Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes for a chicken dinner that’s anything but boring.
What to buy: We like Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce for all Buffalo-style chicken recipes, but keep in mind that it’s quite salty. If you use another medium-spicy brand (Crystal, for instance) you might need to add a pinch of kosher salt to the finished sauce.
- Yields: 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: About 1 hr
- Active: 20 mins
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 large skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 set firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup lager-style beer
- 1/3 cup medium-spicy hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
- 1 table rice vinegar
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Set a large cast-iron skillet or heavy oven-safe frying pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chicken, skin-side down. Leave the chicken undisturbed until the skin is crisp and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Pour out the oil and discard it.
- Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and celery and sauté until the onion just starts to brown, about 5 minutes (reduce the heat if it begins to brown sooner). Add the garlic, chiles and adobo sauce, tomato paste, and brown sugar and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more. Pour in the beer, hot sauce, and vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the browned chicken thighs to the sauce. Use tongs to turn the pieces around in the sauce, making sure they’re coated. Arrange the pieces skin-side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken is tender and opaque throughout, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked chicken with its sauce to a warmed serving platter or individual plates, with mashed or roasted potatoes.