Think of this as a lighter and quick version of French onion chicken! This easy skillet chicken recipe with loads of caramelized onion will blow your mind! Make every use of the delicious onion juice by serving this chicken over plain rice or your grain of choice. It's also delicious with pita or your favorite bread to wipe the juice!
Cook the onions. Heat about 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and season well with kosher salt. Sauté the onions, stirring often until they collapse and release their juices turning a beautiful deep golden brown in color, about 10 to 15 minutes (cover the pan to speed up the cooking time, if you like). Manage the heat to make sure the onions soften and caramelize without burning.
In the meantime, season the chicken on both sides with kosher salt.
Once the onions are nicely caramelized, push them to the edges of the pan. Add the chicken (meaty side down first) to the pan and sear on both sides until golden brown. Do not cover the pan this time. (If the onions are in the way, you can move them around and add them on top of the chicken so that there is enough room in the pan for the chicken to brown well).
Once the chicken is nicely browned, add in the broth or water (you should have some juices in the pan from the chicken and the onions. Start with ¼ cup of liquid and add more if needed to form a sauce).
Cover the pan and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through and a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the chicken reads 165 degrees F. Serve over rice or with pita bread (the bread with the onion sauce is delish!)
Recipe credit: This is my Uncle Samy's signature onion chicken.
The key to this recipe is in caramelizing the onions well. Do not rush the sautéing process, the onions need to cook down and turn a nice golden brown in color before adding the chicken to the skillet. It does help to cover the pan for a bit, this traps the steam and helps to soften the onions as they release their juices. The onions will have more time to cook with the chicken and turn sweeter and an even deeper golden brown
To use boneless chicken thighs: Add more liquid and adjust the cooking time. Boneless chicken thighs will cook in 12 minutes or so.
To use boneless chicken breasts: If the breasts are too thick, it helps to cut them horizontally into thinner cutlets. You'll want to watch the breasts as they can tend to dry fast. Once your onions are caramelized, add the chicken breasts in and sear for about 1 minute on each side, undisturbed, then add the liquid (you will need at least ½ cup to ¾ cup of broth, and you'll want to watch and add more as needed). Once you cover the chicken to cook, give it about 7 or 8 minutes and check for doneness. When the internal temp of the chicken is about 160 degrees F, pull it off the heat and allow it to rest for 5 minutes or so before serving. I personally prefer chicken thighs for this recipe.
Optional Seasoning: My uncle Samy's signature onion chicken is seasoned very simply with a good dash of kosher salt, but it's also great with a dash of Baharat, a warm blend of spices, including cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.