Monday, January 5, 2015

Foolproof Juicy Chicken Thighs

"If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime." If I share one single recipe, it will teach you one meal.  If I teach you a technique, you can create many meals for your family.  Today, I will share a technique for one of my favorite, budget friendly, juicy cuts of meat: chicken thighs!

The technique outlined here creates a crispy skin, and moist, tender meat.  You can add your favorite seasonings and sauces, and make many different flavor variations so your family won't get bored with the same old chicken every week.  I often use this technique to use up veggies and sauces from the week. 

By ingredients, this chicken thigh technique tutorial is peanut-free, tree nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, fish-free, wheat free, gluten free, soy free, and shellfish-free. Top 8 Allergen Free! As always, check this ingredient list and your local products to make sure that this recipe is allergy safe for your family and/or friends!

Steps marked with an asterisk (*) are child friendly!  
Click HERE for more information! 

Start with high quality chicken thighs.  We have committed to purchasing only organic chicken meat. (Yes, I know it is expensive.  I once cooked two whole chickens together for soup, one organic, one not. Seeing them side by side, I couldn't believe the difference in taste, texture, color...  Then I did some research on what causes those differences, and never looked back. Using chicken thighs helps us stay in budget while getting a higher quality meat without all the junk.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. *Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, and *season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. (If you want a smokey flavor, use bacon fat in place of olive oil.)  Carefully place seasoned chicken thighs skin side down.  Don't crowd the pan.  Do this in an oven safe skillet if possible.  I make too many at a time to fit in just one skillet, but if you're cooking for four or fewer, you'll be able to make this a one skillet dish! 

Let the chicken brown and crisp on the skin side.  Make sure you give the chicken enough time for this, don't flip them over at the first sign of browning, reeeeallly let them cook and sizzle long enough for deep golden brown color to develop. This is the number one place that people go wrong, and end up with soggy skin, which is not delicious. Flip the thighs over and brown on the other side.

Once the thighs have been browned on both sides, place them all either in the oven safe skillet you were using, OR if you're cooking for a crowd like I am, in a roasting pan. (At this point you could add onions or carrots to the roasting pan as well.) Place in the oven and roast until chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove Chicken from the pan. See all that brown concentrated flavor sticking to the bottom of your pan?  Go get it.  

Deglaze the pan by adding a little chicken broth, wine, or even water.  *(older kiddos) Scrape up all those little brown delicious bits of flavor. 

I added all the liquid from deglazing the pan right back into my skillet to make a pan sauce. (This particular pan sauce also has two cloves of sauteed garlic in it.  I chopped and sauteed it while the chicken was in the oven.)  If you were able to keep the chicken in an oven safe skillet, you won't have to make any transfers like this, just keep on working in the skillet.  (File "having to switch pans" under "large family special instructions.")

*(older kiddos) Thicken your pan sauce by using corn starch.  Follow the directions on the package!

*Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with potatoes and a salad! (Or a side of pasta, or mashed potatoes, or with rice and steamed veggies...use your imagination and put this technique to good use in your kitchen!)

Don't forget to check out my cookbooks on Amazon! 

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!


  1. I've never thought to brown the skin in a pan first. I always just turn the broiler on for a little while. I'll have to try the pan first idea. :)

    (visiting from the Fabulous Friday link-up)

    1. Browning in the skillet yields a beautiful crispy skin, locks in the juices, and partially cooks the chicken - which reduces oven time (and time to dry out)! Once I started cooking them this way, I never looked back! I hope you enjoy it!