May 24, 2014 Leave your thoughts
Have you ever had the experience of biting into a piece of chicken, only to discover that the skin is rubbery, flabby, and frankly inedible?
I have. And it’s not pleasant.
I can also promise you that it WON’T happen with this chicken.
The trick to getting crispity-crunchy chicken skin is to use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, sear for a long time, and pop it in a hot oven to finish it off. Once you have this basic method down, you can have a restaurant-quality piece of poultry on the dinner table in less than a half an hour with minimal effort on your part.
How awesome is that?!
This meal can also be cooked one-handed, as I found out while chopping vegetables for a side dish.
In the year and a half I’ve been cooking seriously, I’ve never cut nor burned myself. I’ve gotten a few dings every now and then, but never anything serious. A dull knife and extra-tough parsnips were the culprit in this case.
Anyway, long story short, even if you have the use of only your right hand, you can still make this chicken! You just need someone strong to transfer the skillet to and from the oven. (Thanks, Dad!)
This is the perfect early-summer dish, especially if you don’t have (or are slightly terrified of) a grill. Sweet, just a little sticky, and with a slightly-charred outer crust, this chicken will definitely remind you of something cooked barbecue-style–except you won’t have to smell like a cookout to get the final product!
Let’s get started making this wonderful chicky-chicky.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and throw a heavy cast iron skillet in there while the oven heats up.
Take 1 whole chicken cut into eight pieces (or bone-in thighs or breasts) and bring it to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Season all of the pieces well with salt, then take out the cast iron skillet and put it on the stove top over medium-high heat.
Place the pieces skin-side down and sear for 14 minutes. Don’t move the pieces at all: just let them do their thing.
Meanwhile, warm 1/4 cup of all-fruit apricot jam in a small saucepan until significantly more liquid-y or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and a pinch of salt.
At about the 12 minute mark, brush half of the apricot mixture on the side of the chicken pieces facing up.
When the 14 minutes are up, flip the chicken over (so skin side up) and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for five minutes, then brush the chicken skin with the remaining apricot mixture and cook until golden-brown and firm to the touch, about five minutes longer. (A thermometer inserted in one of the breast pieces should read at least 160, while the thigh/leg pieces should be at least 175.)
Remove from the skillet and eat immediately with your favorite side dishes.
What is your favorite spring/summer chicken dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!