Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This Chicken is Rockin'!

The amount of chicken breasts that I consume on a weekly basis can be staggering. It's my go-to protein - lean, easy to prepare, versatile. But at the end of the day, it's so very boring. Lord help me if I overcook it. There's really nothing worse than dry chicken breasts. Gack!

So recently, I veered from my rut and went for the chicken thighs in the butcher case. Thighs - with the skin! I had a hankering for something juicy, meaty, tender... and a chicken breast wasn't going to cut it. I even had in mind the way I wanted to cook them - similar to brick chicken on the grill, but done in the oven in a cast iron skillet. I envisioned them having a seared, crispy skin that would impart its flavor to the meat of the thighs, melding with the flavors of lemon, roasted garlic and fresh herbs. I was salivating at my vision for these thighs before a single ingredient ever hit the pan.

Proud to say this dish rocked. If it looks good in the picture, I can guarantee it tasted even better. You must try.

This is how you do it:
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  • You will need two cast iron skillets; one slightly larger to hold the chicken and the smaller one to weight and set on top (the second skillet will act as a clamshell grill, helping to cook the chicken thighs on both sides at once)
  • Line the smaller skillet with tin foil and weight with either a brick, or in my case, rocks!
  • Place the rock-filled skillet in the oven to get up to temperature as you prep the chicken and do the stovetop steps below
  • Peel the cloves from an entire bulb of garlic; smash lightly with the flat side of a wide butcher knife
  • Peel and finely dice one shallot
  • Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with a glug of olive oil; add the shallot and garlic cloves
  • Over medium/low heat on the stove, cook until the shallots and garlic are soft and caramelized
  • Remove the shallots and garlic and turn the heat up on the skillet to high
  • Lightly coat six chicken thighs with olive oil; sprinkle with kosher salt
  • When the stovetop skillet is piping hot, place the thighs skin-side down
  • Cook the thighs until the skins are seared to a beautiful brown color (approximately 7-8 minutes); remove the thighs from the skillet (leave any drippings) and remove the skillet from the heat (turn off the stove)
  • Return the garlic and shallots to the bottom of the skillet
  • Add a layer of fresh herb sprigs to the skillet; I used rosemary and lemon thyme
  • Return the thighs to the skillet, skin side up
  • Cut two lemons in quarters and squeeze the juice over the chicken; scatter the quarter rinds amongst the thighs
  • Add another layer of fresh herb sprigs on top of the chicken
  • Place the preheated second weighted skillet on top of the chicken-filled skillet; place the entire kit and caboodle back into the 400 degree oven
  • Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the thighs are cooked through
  • Eat up!


  1. Merciful heaven, Morry... I'm sure I'll need to buy a new keyboard now. Drool isn't good for electronics. I think I can duplicate everything i this recipe except your wonderful round spirit rocks. (That *could* make a world of difference.)

  2. This is so beautiful! It is always good to find new ways to make chicken, and in our house thighs are the poultry part of choice!