The leftovers from this (not the actual dish, prepared on Valentine’s Day) were proclaimed “best chicken ever” by Jen, which is the best compliment anyone has ever given me about my cooking. I’m pretty much addicted to cooking things in my stainless steel skillet. The nonstick pans are probably also worried because I’ve been thinking of using our cast iron skillet more.
This recipe involves cooking the chicken in the oven. It helpfully points out that the pan should be removed from the oven using [a] potholder or oven mitt to protect hands from hot skillet handle, but it doesn’t say anything about protecting your hands once the pan is back on the stove – consequently I suffered my most painful cooking-induced burn ever.
1 1/2 cups kosher salt or 3/4 cup table salt
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, discard wings, and trim excess fat
Ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Shallot and Vermouth Sauce
1 large shallot , minced (about 4 tablespoons)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry vermouth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
Table salt and ground black pepper
1. Dissolve salt in 2 1/2 quarts cold tap water in large container or bowl; submerge chicken pieces in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken pieces under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season chicken with pepper.
2. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke, about 3 minutes; swirl skillet to coat evenly with oil. Brown chicken pieces skin-side down until deep golden, about 5 minutes; turn chicken pieces, and brown until golden on second side, about 4 minutes longer. Turn chicken skin-side down and place skillet in oven. Roast until juices run clear when chicken is cut with paring knife, or thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and thickest part of thighs and drumsticks registers about 175 degrees, about 10 minutes longer. Using potholder or oven mitt to protect hands from hot skillet handle, remove pan from oven. Transfer chicken skin-side up to platter, and let rest while making sauce. (If not making sauce, let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.)
4. Still using potholder or oven mitt, pour off most of fat from skillet, add shallot, then set skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring frequently, until shallot softens, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add chicken broth, vermouth, and thyme; increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Pour accumulated chicken juices into skillet, discard thyme, and whisk in butter one piece at a time. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken pieces skin-side up to skillet; simmer to heat through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.