Recipes: Skillet Roasted Chicken Thighs

             

It’s a cold, rainy day out there despite it being March (context: I’m in North Carolina) and these are perfect for warming me up. I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit. I’ve really done fairly little to change it except to further prepare the chicken to my taste. I can imagine about a half dozen variants on above recipe that would be just as good as what I came up with. The base recipe is fantastically adaptable. The goal of these chicken thighs is crisp fried skin, tender meat, and for me a lot of drippings to make home fries or other things with. I’ll include a Chinese-style variant at the end so you see what I’m talking about.

Note: This also works with duck thighs / legs.

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Heat a cast iron skillet on high or to just below the smoking point, whichever is lower.

Take a sharp knife and cut a slit in the top of each thigh deep enough to insert a smashed garlic clove or folded slice of lemon. Insert garlic or lemon, then close. Brush the skin with olive oil, then dust with white pepper, coriander, paprika, and garlic powder.

Place the thighs skin-down in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 12 minutes. I highly recommend covering the skillet with a mesh grease catcher.

Toss in the potatoes and onions, dust with the herb mixture, and use a pair of tongs to coat them in the rendered chicken fat. Place in the oven and cook for another 13 minutes. Then flip the chicken thighs face up and bake for a further 5 minutes to crisp the skin.

Remove the thighs to a plate and rest them for five minutes. In the meantime, put the skillet back on the stovetop at medium high and fry the potatoes and onions, tossing occasionally to make homefries. If you did not stud the chicken thighs with lemon slices, I like to finish homefries with a little balsamic vinegar.

Variant: Chinese (Jiangnan) style

Home-fries:

Brine:

Thighs:

I’m not even pretending this is authentic, but it is good.

Brine the chicken thighs for a minimum of 4 hours, but overnight is better. Again, duck thighs work as well. Rinse the brine off. Then brush a very thin coat of szechuan pepper oil on the skin, then crack black pepper over it (don’t go overboard).

Take the lemongrass and peel the outer layers away. Cut each stalk in half. Beat with a rolling pin or something heavy until fragrant. Take a sharp knife and make a lengthwise slit through the thigh close to the skin and skewer it with the lemongrass.

Now cook the same way as before using the taro and leeks in place of the potatoes and onions.

Garnish with fresh coriander or even better rau ram.

Note: Taro can cause skin irritation in some people when raw. You may want to wear gloves when peeling. Don’t make your taro chunks too big, as it is also important to cook taro all the way through.

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