chicken casserole with onions & apricot juice

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chicken casserole with apricot, onions and thyme

I slowly braised the chicken in this dish with loads of caramelized onions, apricot juice, and thyme to deliver a comforting casserole that is super easy to make and low in fat. This chicken casserole with onions, apricot juice, and thyme reminds me of a dish my mom used to make that used a packet of brown onion soup mix and a liter apricot Liquifruit. The apricot adds a lovely sweet tartness which goes so well with chicken. As I am not a fan of using packet pre mixes, and for the purposes of making my recipes as internationally accessible as possible, I tried to create something similar, but all from scratch.

chicken casserole with apricot, onions and thyme

I also wanted to put my new Revol porcelain pot to the test. This revolutionary cookware is light and beautiful, but build to handle most cooking environments – gas, electric, microwave, induction, and oven. When I first saw it I could hardly believe that something this pretty and light could tackle any heavy-duty cooking. I have been amazed.

Revolution is a non-porous ceramic, 100% natural that does not absorb any fat, smells, or bacteria, and has a natural non-stick glaze coating.  It’s also – and I must say this is one of the best parts for me, unbelievably easy to clean.

chicken casserole with apricot, onions and thyme

First I browned the chicken in it, then caramelized the onions – all on the gas top then added the other bits and braised it for an hour in the oven. easy. Out the oven and directly onto the table.

*Cooks notes ~ I used thighs and legs because I prefer the darker meat of the bird in a casserole, and I chose skinless to conserve a few calories. Bone-in for flavour, but you can use whatever cuts of the chicken you prefer. I used white button mushrooms as they are smaller and absorb a lot of the flavour in this dish, and I added a few sprigs of thyme to cook in – and remove at the end, as well 2 sprigs with the leaves removed – to add to the sauce.

It is ready to serve straight away with rice or mash. I loved it with my sweet potato and butternut mash and steamed green vegetables.

How to make perfect basmati rice

This is my tried and tested recipe but does vary slightly from brand to brand

Serves 4

1 1/4 cup basmati rice which you soak in water for 15 – 30 minutes. Then rinse until the water runs clear.

Bring 500ml water 1 tsp salt to a boil with the lid on. As soon as it starts boiling, added the drained and rinsed rice. Put the lid back on and set a timer for 5 minutes. Do not open the lid. Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Do not open the lid.

Allow the rice to absorb for 20 – 25 minutes then open the lid, add butter (as much as you dare), and fluff up with a fork. 

*If for some reason there is still some water in the pot that hasn’t been absorbed, then fluff up over low heat to allow this to steam off. 

chicken casserole with apricot, onions and thyme

Recipe | serves 4

chicken casserole with onions, apricot juice

A flavour-packed chicken casserole that braises in apricot juice with caramelized onions and thyme.
Print Recipe


  • 2 - 4 T olive oil
  • 950 g - 1kg chicken pieces I used skinless thighs and legs
  • 2 white onions finely sliced
  • 1 T butter/olive oil
  • 2 T cornflour or flour
  • 2 cups of apricot juice
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 4 - 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a nonstick frying pan and brown the meat on all sides, remove and set aside.
  • In the casserole dish that you will be cooking in, heat the butter and fry the onions until soft over low heat. This will take about 10 - 15 minutes. You will initially want to sweat the onions to soften them and then allow them to start going brown.
  • At this point add the flour and cook this for a minute or two until it has thickened and cooked a bit. Add the stock and apricot juice and allow it to cook for about a minute.
  • Add the chicken, mushrooms, and thyme, and bring this to a simmer.
  • Put a lid on your casserole dish and place it in the oven and allow it to cook uninterrupted for an hour.
Author: Sam Linsell


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  1. This looks so good! Can’t wait to make it with the oh so good sweet potato and butternut mash! 🙂

  2. Kelly Brook says:

    This dish is busy cooking in my oven, looks delish

  3. Liz Thomas says:

    This made me laugh! Using French onion soup mix and apricot juice was such an 80’s thing in Australia! An it wasn’t bad at all. Although I think caramelising the onions yourself is a much better idea. Like the idea of sweet potato and butternut mash too. Did you know that if you add just a splash of Angostura Bitters to mashed sweet potato really lifts the flavour? Try it, you’ll be surprised.


  4. Liz, The idea must have been a global one as it was in the 80ies that people were making it here. It was rather delicious. I tried to get the same idea using fresh onions – we don’t get French Onion soup packet mix here, just brown onion soup. I guess similar. Love the idea of bitters to sweet potato, intriguing. I must definitely give it a whirl.Thanks 🙂

  5. Hi Kelly, how did it go?

  6. Liz Thomas says:

    Well, it it went global it certainly missed the UK! Brits visiting Oz were amazed at the idea. But once tried, as you say, it really was rather delicious.

  7. Fantastic recipe! With so many wonderful flavours, the White Buttons were the perfect veggie addition to soak up the juices. Thanks for sharing!


  8. Thanks Shannon. Im not the biggest fan of button mushrooms, but when there is a lot of sauce and flavour for them to absorb they work really well.

  9. Hi, my family had a favourite dish too – chicken, packet of french onion soup, tin of apricots – plus brown sugar. So simple but so tasty. Unfortunately, dried French Onion Soup seems to have disappears – unless anyone knows of a source? It was a recipe from the Nottingham Ladies Circle book – mid 80s too. Seems it was pretty universally liked.

  10. Hi Jacky, we seemed to have that packet soup / apricot recipe in various versions. Ours was a packet of brown onion soup and a litre of apricot liquifruit. I like your version of whole tinned apricots though.

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