Sarah Grueneberg

Sarah Grueneberg

Top Chef, James Beard Winner, Chef, Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio, Chicago

Honey-Balsamic Braised Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower and Dried Figs

Cook along with this Top Chef alum and James Beard Award winner Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde Restaurant and Pastificio in Chicago. Sarah walks you through her delicious one-pot meal.

If you’re cooking along with us at home, find the ingredient and preparation list below or listen and enjoy for your next meal inspiration. 

COOK’S NOTE: You may replace the 1/2 cup wine with 1/3 cup water plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Makes 2 servings


  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1-2” large pieces
  • Olive oil, if necessary
  • 4-5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets, about 2 cups
  • About 1 cup, 2 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, quartered, or other dried fruit such as raisins
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or 1/3 cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 10-12” oven-safe heavy skillet
  • Tongs
  • Small dish to remove bacon
  • Plate or dish to remove chicken


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a large, heavy oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add the bacon pieces- the pan does not need to be preheated. Cook until crisp and brown, turning once halfway through, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove bacon to a dish and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.

Season chicken thighs on all sides with kosher salt.

Adjust heat to medium and add chicken to the hot pan, skin side down. Cook until skin is crispy and deeply golden in color, about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate, skin side up, and set aside (only the skin side has been browned).

Add cauliflower and shallots to the pan, season with salt and cook, turning occasionally using tongs, to brown all sides, about 3-4 minutes. If the pan seems dry, add a bit of olive oil. Be patient here, color is important. Add dried figs to soften slightly, another 2 minutes, and season with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the white wine to the pan and scrape to remove the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, balsamic, honey and thyme. Taste and season accordingly. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan, skin side up.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the chicken thighs are cooked through, about 15 minutes (or a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reaches at least 160 degrees- it will carry over to 165 degrees). Carefully remove from the oven, add the butter and stir into the sauce to slightly thicken.

Turn off heat, add the crispy bacon pieces over the top and serve immediately.

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