Skillet Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives is a hearty and delicious one-pan comfort food dish that’s excellent for a busy weeknight and interesting and lovely enough for entertaining on the weekend.
This skillet dinner is sweet, savory, hearty and so pretty!
The sweetness from the apricots is such a delicious contrasting flavor in the sauce with the briny olives. Add to that, caramelized onions, garlic, herbs, a generous splash of vermouth and succulent chicken, and watch out!
How to Make Skillet Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives
This recipe is quite simple and relatively quick to whip up . . .
- Sear the chicken.
- Sauté shallots, garlic, olives, apricots and oregano.
- Deglaze the pan with vermouth.
- Return the chicken to the pan and finish cooking.
(More detailed instructions are below.)
Can you use other cuts of chicken?
Yes, you certainly can use other cuts of chicken. I love this recipe with boneless, skinless thighs. I think the darker meat lends itself to the fruity flavor in the sauce. It would also be great with breasts and/or legs, if that’s your preference. You can use bone-in, though the cooking time will be longer. I prefer skinless in this recipe to prevent the sauce from being too greasy.
Tips for Making Skillet Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives
- Make sure pan is very hot before you add the chicken to sear it. (You should hear a sizzling sound!) Otherwise, it won’t brown as quickly or easily. In this first step of searing it, we’re not cooking it through (that happens later).
- If you don’t have shallots, use red onion.
- Before you chop the garlic, in addition to cutting off the root ends, remove the roots from the center of each clove, especially if they’re green. The garlic will taste less bitter this way.
- I suggest a combination of Kalamata and Manzanilla, but you can use your favorite olive varieties.
- You can substitute dry sherry for the vermouth if you’d like. Both are delicious in this recipe.
- When you choose dried apricots for this recipe, they should be plump and soft. These are my favorites.
I serve this dish with a side salad and that’s it. The meal is a hit! (In my humble opinion, of course. 😉 )
Here are a couple more one-pan, skillet chicken dinner recipes:
Skillet Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 pounds chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
- 1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic, roots removed
- 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup pitted Manzanilla olives
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup vermouth
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, washed and dried, roughly chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a large skillet (cast iron is best). Place the pan over medium-high heat. Lightly sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and add them to the pan once it’s very hot. Sauté just long enough to lightly brown, about 1 minute per side. (Do this in two batches if it’s a tight fit.) Remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate covered with foil.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the shallots. Stirring a bit, once they begin to soften, add the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the olives and apricots and sauté, stirring often until everything begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
- Move the pan away from the heat and add the vermouth. Turn the heat to medium-high and using a deglazing spatula, scrape any bits of the ingredients stuck to the bottom of the pan off, and into the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here’s How to Season to Taste.) When the vermouth has almost completely reduced, stir in the oregano.
- Return all of the chicken pieces to the pan, placing them more or less beneath the olive-apricot mixture. Reduce the heat to low, drizzle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the honey, and cover. Cook just until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with the basil and serve.
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