Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roasted Everything

This could alternately be titled "The Best Chicken I've Ever Cooked" because it was, in fact, the best chicken I've ever cooked.

Chicken really isn't my favorite meat to cook.  Truthfully, I'm much more comfortable with pork because I have an irrational fear of making dry chicken.  As a Southern lady, it's a bit embarrassing to admit.  This recipe is right up my alley because I prefer dark meat on a chicken and turkey.  I found it while perusing Bon Appetit.  They have a recipe for Momofuku's Crack Pie that I'll be making soon.  Anyhow, I was debating what to fix for dinner when I happened upon Perfect Pan-roasted Chicken Thighs.  Um, sign me up.

You're gonna want to make this.  As Bon Appetit says, it's worthy of a Sunday dinner but easy enough to make on a Wednesday.  Or Tuesday as it were.  Seriously, it's like 3 steps.

And since I was pan-roasting the chicken, I decided to make the whole meal roasted.  Because I'm excessive like that.  I'd seen some parmesan roasted potatoes over at What's Gaby Cooking and did a spin-off of those, and I invited some asparagus to the party.

The potatoes went first since they had to cook the longest.  I figured a potato per person, so 3 taters got cubed up.

I tossed them with olive oil, Lawry's seasoning salt, parmesan, and a little extra paprika.  A little seasoning salt will go a long way, so don't over do it if you use it.

The asparagus is super simple.  Trim off the ends and drizzle with olive oil on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Salt and pepper those bad boys.  You can even add a little heat if you want with cayenne or plain red pepper flakes.  They don't need too long in the oven, so they went in with the chicken.

The main event: Chicken thighs, veggie oil, pepper, and salt.

Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.  You want to get to the point right before the oil starts smoking.

Season the skin side of the chicken first since that's the side going down in the pan.  It's just salt and pepper, and it's all you need.

When the pan is super hot, place the chicken (carefully please!) skin-side down and let it go for a couple of minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-high and let the chicken cook for about 12 minutes.  Season the other side of the chicken now.  You can rotate the pan and move the chicken around a little to make sure the heat is distributed evenly.  You'll know it's ready for the next step when the skin is golden brown and the fat has rendered.  Really this just means the fat is coming out of the skin and melting in the pan.  Holla.

The reason we use a cast-iron skillet is because we need to transfer from the stove to the oven, and we don't want to move the meat to a different pan.  Basically.  So it goes in the oven for 13 minutes (along with the asparagus).  Yeah, it's still skin-side down.  The skin gets a lot of pan love.

Take the skillet out of the oven and flip the chicken over.  Oh snap.  Look at that skin!  It goes back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Chyeah.  Serious business.  You could make a bangin' pan sauce with this if you wanted.  Gravy perhaps if you're making mashed potatoes?

The asparagus should be good to go.  The tips get really crispy, and they kind of taste like asparagus french fries.  I realize this might take all the nutritional value out of the asparagus, but it's better than an actual french fry, right?  Whatevs, I like 'em.  Steam your asparagus another day.

Asparagus?  Check.  Potatoes?  Check.  Perfectly moist with ultra-crispy skin chicken?  Heck yeah.

Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs (serves 3-5)
Adapted (barely) from Bon Appetit

4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
Salt and pepper
1 tbs vegetable oil

  • Preheat oven to 475ยบ.  Season chicken skin with salt and pepper.  Heat oil over high heat until almost smoking in a 12" cast-iron skillet.  Carefully place chicken in skillet, skin-side down, for 2 minutes.  Season other side of the chicken while skin-side down.  Reduce heat to medium-high and continue cooking about 12 minutes or until skin is golden brown and fat is rendered.  You may rotate pan and rearrange chicken occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  • Transfer skillet to oven and cook 13 minutes longer.  Flip chicken and cook until meat is cooked through and skin crisps up, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and let rest 5 more minutes before serving.  Proceed to devour.

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