Champagne Braised Chicken Thighs: the most delicious way to use leftover Champagne and a quick and delicious weeknight meal!
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Can I share some stuff that’s been weighing on me lately? I’m going to try and be brave and share what’s on my heart right now.
J and I have naturally fallen into our parenting roles, but they’re a bit reversed in terms of the typical “gender stereotypes”. Basically, I’m the disciplinarian and he’s the softer one. We’ve been talking for a while about how we need to be a bit more balanced with him disciplining more and me softening up with the girls, and have had many successes and our fair share of fails as well.
I should probably stop here and tell you a TL:DR version of our parenting. For our unique family, we’ve been very adamant about making sure that we set very firm boundaries for our kids with a good amount of freedom within that framework. While there is certainly no lack of love and laughter in our family, we don’t negotiate with our children and we make no apologies for this. There is no question about who the bosses are in our home because our primary goal is to parent them at this point, not to be their friends.
That being said, I’ve felt for a while that I’m sometimes a bit too hard on the girls, particularly A (probably because T isn’t yet at the point where she can communicate as much). Now don’t get me wrong, A and I have a great relationship in general. We have a ton of inside jokes and moments where we crack each other up and can’t stop giggling. We play together and most nights before bed we’ll have a snuggle and watch some Disney junior shows together.
But she also seeks out her dad more times than not if she needs comfort. Now, in all fairness, it’s not a total black and white thing. A naturally tends to gravitate towards men. She’s been known to run right past my mother and my mother-in-law directly into the arms of her respective grandfathers. So while I don’t think she completely avoids sharing affection with me, I still want to make sure that she also views me as a source of comfort.
My dad and I recently had a heart-to-heart about this, and while it wasn’t an easy conversation to have, it kind of solidified the fact that was already simmering in my head: I want to balance my “hard-ass” side with my soft and cuddly mama side a little better. This is something I’ve been working on for a little while, but after our talk, I’m really going out of my way to me more intentional about it.
One big thing I’m working on is how I deliver my messages to the girls. Specifically, instead of being super stern in my delivery and instead of being very public in my disciplining, I’m trying to take A out of the situation and gently but still firmly discipline her. Away from where other people can see her getting disciplined and with a demeanor that is more calm and at her own pace.
This can be a struggle for me at times because I naturally talk in a louder and often commanding voice- what can I say, I’m Italian, we’re loud! But I want her to trust me not to humiliate her in front of others (as my dad pointed out, even though she may not understand the concept of humiliation, she can still feel it) and I recognize that this trust is earned. I also don’t want her to view me as someone who’s going to yell at her at the drop of a hat.
So while this approach is still a work in progress (she generally starts throwing a tantrum when I try to remove her from the situation, no matter how gentle I am) I’ve noticed that once she calms down, I’m making progress with getting through to her in those disciplinary moments and I’ve noticed she’s been a bit more affectionate with me and wanting to hang with me more than usual. She’s still a total Daddy’s girl, which is truly beautiful, but I feel like I’m doing more on my side to build a softer and more trusting relationship with her while still being a parent to her.
I’m kind of in love with the ingredients in this chicken. As in, me + this chicken = love. Seriously, you guys. I ate it twice in one week and I wasn’t even slightly sad about it.
The chicken gets perfectly crispy. And if there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I live for crispy chicken skins. Is that weird? Perhaps. But I’m not even slightly sorry. I love it so much that my dear husband even takes his crispy chicken skin off and places it right onto my plate before digging into his dinner. That’s love, you guys. I don’t need flowers, I get chicken skin!
I feel like I just don’t use leeks enough and that’s a shame because they bring a down-right delicious flavor! The umami of the mushrooms and the smokiness of the bacon are perfection. Andplusalso, this is a killer way to use up extra champagne or sparkling wine or leftover champagne splits (I know, you’re all rolling your eyes like “Why would I have leftover champagne?!” I typically drink it all too, but stay with me here!). The couple squeezes of lemon juice brighten this up in a way that balances everything out perfectly!
This is a super easy weeknight dinner. You can totally prep your ingredients in advance and then just throw them together when you’re ready to make dinner. It also feels fancy enough to make for guests and can easily be doubled for a crowd. And it feels perfectly warm and cozy for fall.
Other simple fall dinners include:
- Tuna Wiggle
- 40 Minute One Pot Balsamic Chicken Skillet
- Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
- Sweet and Spicy Shrimp and Snow Peas Stir Fry
- 20 Minute Taco Pasta
- Date Night Fish for Two with a Lemon Sherry Pan Sauce
- Bangin’ Sausage and Peppers Pasta
- Stuffed Peppers Rice Skillet
- Moroccan Chickpea Stew
- Best Ever Skillet Lasagna
- 30 Minute Turkey Chili
- 20 Minute Sheet Pan Lemon Dill Salmon and Asparagus
- Pasta Pomodoro
Champagne Braised Chicken Thighs is such an easy fall recipe. It's pretty quick to make on a weeknight and roasts up beautifully in the oven with bacon, leeks and mushrooms in a deliciously savory wine sauce the whole family will love!
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
Yields 4 servings
- 3 pieces of bacon
- 1 Tbsp. salted butter
- 4 large chicken thighs (or more if they're smaller)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large leek, cut down the middle length-wise, sliced into half moons and well cleaned (soak it for 10 minutes, changing the water a few times until all the sand and dirt is out)
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (lemon thyme is great if you have it!)
- 3/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine (or 1 champagne split- you can also sub in white wine if you don''t have champagne.)
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Fry 3 pieces of bacon in a deep oven-safe skillet over medium high until crisp and remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce the heat slightly (to somewhere between medium and medium high)and add the butter to the pan.
- While the butter melts, season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the chicken to the pan, skin side down.
- Sear for 5-6 minutes or until the skin is golden brown (don't move it, you want to get a good sear).
- Turn the chicken and sear the other side for 4 minutes and remove them from the pan.
- Add the leeks, mushrooms garlic and sprigs of thyme to the pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
- Saute for 3-4 minutes or until they've softened.
- Add the chicken crumble the reserved bacon slices into the pan and sour the champagne and the lemon juice over the top.
- Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden or plastic spoon to deglaze and transfer the pan to the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165.
If you don't have an oven-safe pan that can be used on the stove as well, you can deglaze the pan once the veggies are softened and then place the chicken and bacon into the separate baking pan and pour the veggies and juices over it before transferring to the oven. The juices and veggies taste great over rice.
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