I had a surfeit of onions this week. A surplus. A bounty. I had a lot of onions in the house. I also didn’t have a whole lot else. At least not a whole lot that was all that interesting.
I could have re-made any number of the dishes I’ve made before that utilize a lot of onions – like my chicken thigh version of my mom’s pot roast or Chicken with Onions, Olives, and Vinegar. Instead I decided it was time to mess about with Soubise.
Soubise is a classical French sauce that’s essentially just onions. No really. There’s not a lot else to it. The classic recipe calls for slowly sautéed onions blended with a bechamel. The version I use adds white wine and cream in place of the bechamel – which makes the resulting sauce a little lighter.
The real magic of soubise is that – other than a lingering savory background note – it doesn’t taste like onions. This is sort of insane given that it’s – again – pretty much entirely onions. The cooking process renders the onions sweet and mellow, and the sauce is a perfect accompaniment to a roasted chicken dish.
The chicken itself we’ll brine in a blend of herbs and white wine. The acid in the wine will help tenderize the chicken, the additional salt in the brine means it will stay juicy when roasted, and the herbs … well herbs are just delicious.
One note: I’ve been playing around with the air fryer I bought earlier this year – mostly because I don’t really want to turn the oven on when it’s 90° and humid and it feels like I just stepped out of the shower but not in that refreshing way just in the “wow, It’s really terribly steamy” way. The point being, as I was developing this dish – I used the air fryer to roast the chicken a couple of times. The results are great – but as air fryers differ from model to model and brand to brand, the instructions here are for a conventional oven. If you want to roast the chicken in the air fryer, check your appliance’s recommendations for roast chicken.
White Wine & Herb Brined Roasted Chicken Thighs with Onion SoubiseCourse: MainCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
Lucious herb brined roasted chicken thighs with a sweet, savory onion soubise.
- White Wine & Herb Brined Roasted Chicken Thighs
4 bone in skin on chicken thighs
1 cup dry white wine
3 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sage leaves
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp black pepper
- Onion Soubise
1 large white onion
½ cup white wine
1 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup water
½ tsp kosher salt
- Brine the Chicken
- Add wine, salt, garlic, thyme, sage, rosemary, and black pepper to the container of a blender.
- Process until the herbs are broken down.
- Immerse the chicken in the brine (I use a zip top bag) and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Prepare the Soubise
- Peel, trim, and finely slice the onion from end to end.
- Add 1 tbsp unsalted butter to a thick bottomed pan over low heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add the onion, wine, and salt.
- Cover, and cook on low for 5-10 minutes until the onion has softened.
- Uncover, and cook on medium low – stirring frequently and taking care to make sure the onion doesn’t brown at all, until most of the moisture is gone and the onion is very soft – about 20 minutes.
- Add the cooked onion and ½ cup of water to the container of a high-speed blender and process until the mixture is smooth.
- Return the onion puree to the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Add the cream and stir to combine.
- Cook until the sauce is thickened and covered the back of a spoon.
- Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Roast the chicken.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Arrange the chicken on a sheet pan lines with a rack and roast until the skin is crisp and golden and the internal temperature has reached 165° F.
- To serve, ladle Soubise onto the plate, top with toasted chicken and garnish with fresh herbs.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!