You all know by now that when I have food languishing in the refrigerator, I like to try new recipes and solve that problem. Technically, cheese doesn’t necessarily languish – isn’t it supposed to improve with age? – but I did want to use the Gruyere before it turned moldy. The chicken thighs in the freezer were getting past their prime, and I added some mushrooms that were truly languishing in the fridge to the inspiration recipe I found here.

Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyère
Serves 2
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 to 3/4 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F. Cook the onions and chicken while the oven is heating.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and baking soda and cook, stirring every few minutes with a wooden spoon, for 15 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring more frequently and scraping up the browned buildup that forms at the bottom of the pan, until the onions are a deep golden-brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Meanwhile, sear the chicken.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick or cast iron pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.
Add 1/2 cup of the broth to the chicken pan and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the mustard and vinegar and whisk to combine, then simmer until reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
When the onions are ready, add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 cup of broth, scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove and discard the thyme and rosemary stems.
Transfer the chicken on top of the onions in an even layer and add any juices on the plate. Pour the mustard sauce over the chicken. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven, then turn the oven up to broil. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley if desired and serve.

The results were delicious and felt quite autumn-y and French as well. The leftover Butternut Squash Bisque was the absolutely perfect first course, and now it doesn’t have to languish forgottenly in the refrigerator.