Ok readers, let’s have a little honest chat here – I believe that the kids call it “real talk” (I’m 45 going on 106, I say things like “the kids”).
We all love fried chicken. It’s so delicious, the meat is so juicy, the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and makes it so easy to chew.
You want the skin.
You love the skin.
The crispy skin is the best.
Sometimes you get a full bucket of chicken just so you can peel the skin off, and throw perfectly good chicken flesh away just to devour the 12 secret spices and the fatty goodness of the skin.
And it’s ok. We all love it, though I’d seek help for the last point. Because it’s fatty and crispy and delicious when cooked up right. So, no shame here.
This brings me to today’s recipe. A few weeks back, I was making a recipe (which wasn’t good enough to make the cut for the blog) that called for skinless, bone-in chicken thighs. And the only way to do that is to buy a pack of chicken thighs and skin them yourself.
So I’m skinning the thighs, and there is just a huge pile of skin when I’m done with it – almost a half-pound! (That picture would look disgusting, just plow through it)
I can’t throw all of that away. What would the starving children think of me throwing that all away? Would the pioneers approve of me wasting part of the animal? Would the Pioneer Woman approve of me wasting part of the animal? Hell no!!
(For those of you that think this sounds disgusting, ask yourself what pork rinds are? Yep, pork skin. And if that disgusts you, I don’t know why you’re still reading this blog.)
It took me no more than a minute to find an excellent recipe from Bon Appetit, which is incredibly simple – so simple that I can’t even justify using the HTML code to write it up.
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then grab a couple baking sheets, and line one of them with parchment paper.
Now, your pile of gross looking skin that will turn into fatty crispy goodness. Separate them and cut them into about 3 inch squares, or something close. This isn’t a French Laundry dish, no one is going to look down on you if they end up looking like rectangles or trapezoids or Dom DeLuise.
Place the squartanglzoidLuises on the parchment paper, and flatten them out as best you can. Then you shower them with salt and pepper. A lot. More than you think you need. How you do it is up to you. I prefer to throw it in the air like I just won the lottery and asked for the cash payout in quarters, so I can swim around in it and splash them around…or just sprinkle it on, whichever.
Once you’ve made it rain on the skin, cover it with another sheet of parchment paper, and put the other baking sheet on top of it so they don’t curl up into sad little balls. Then put them in the oven for 1 hour.
SEMI-PRO-TIP: Open a window or two, or run the fan. These get smoky and will leave a kind of unpleasant smell behind if you don’t.
Once you pull them out of the oven, they will look browned and smell like absolute heaven. Your best move is to let them sit for a bit to come to room temperature, and then snack on them over a long football Saturday or Sunday. You probably won’t be able to resist, and just start eating them right there, which will burn your tongue, but you were going to do that on a slice of pizza anyways, so go for it.
Alternatively, you could chop them up into strips and use them as a garnish on a delicate chicken dish, as a texture enhancement.
Nah, you’re going to just eat them whole. And that’s ok too. I give you permission.