|Brined Chicken Thighs and Potatoes|
Chicken is easy, cheap and very versatile, but if you aren’t careful chicken can also be dry. One way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that you don’t overcook it. Buy a thermometer so you don’t need to guess. You can remove chicken from the heat when the thermometer measures 160˚ in the thickest part.
Another technique you can use to keep chicken moist is brining. A brine adds flavor and ensures the meat is tender and juicy. Brining is very easy and doesn’t take long. All brines involve salt, sugar and water. After that you can add any aromatics you want. An easy rule of thumb is to soak the meat for 2 hours for the first pound and then add an hour per pound. However, 20 pounds of chicken thighs would still only be brined for 2 hours, because each thigh weighs less than a pound.
Time: Prep: 15 minutes; Brine: 2 hours Cook: 50-60 minutes
Hardware: measuring cups, a cutting board and knives, a sauce pot, a large NON-REACTIVE container with a cover, paper towels, a large, heavy bottom skillet that can be used on the stove and in the oven (I prefer a cast iron skillet), a wooden spoon, tongs, a plate, a thermometer
- ½ gallon water
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 6 bunches of rosemary
- 2 bunches of thyme
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 4 chicken thighs
- Olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet
- 2 pounds gold potatoes (5 medium)
- 5 ounces boiler onions (5 onions)
- ½ pound bacon
- Start early enough that you can allow the brine to COOL COMPLETELY. Otherwise, you are just washing your chicken in a bacteria bath. Yuck. I usually create the brine before work, refrigerate it and brine the chicken immediately after work.
- Bring the water, salt, sugar garlic and half the rosemary and thyme to a boil. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour everything into the container and refrigerate until the water is COLD. Add the chicken thighs to the cold water, cover and return to the fridge. Allow to soak for 2-2 ½ hours.
- Discard the brine and pat the chicken dry. Allow it to sit out while you are preparing the veggies. This will allow the chicken to rise to room temperature, ensuring that it cooks evenly. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚.
- Scrub the potatoes and cut them into very thin rounds. Peel and half the onions. Cut the fat away from the meat on the bacon.
- Heat the oil and bacon fat over medium high heat in the heavy bottom skillet until the fat melts, about 3 minutes. Place the thighs, skin side down into the bacon fat and allow it to brown, about 6 minutes. Remove the chicken to the plate.
- Toss the veggies, chopped bacon meat, and the rest of the rosemary and thyme into the skillet. LIGHTLY salt.
- Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the veggies and put the skillet into the oven. Cook for 40 minutes or until the thermometer reads 160˚ when inserted into the fattest thigh.
- Remove the chicken and the herbs. Discard the herbs. Toss the potatoes in the liquid in the bottom of the skillet.
- To plate make a bed of potatoes and top with a thigh.