Chicken Thighs with Pancetta and Green Olives
Chicken thighs are adaptable and crowd pleasing, but we’re always in search of that elusive shatteringly crisp skin—it’s the best part, after all. In the new Canal House Cook Something, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton share a foolproof method for crispy thighs we’ve never tried before.
“Searing thighs in a hot skillet burns the skin,” they write. “Rather, we go low and slow, arranging them skin side down in a heavy skillet (cast-iron or nonstick are best) over moderate heat, and leave them alone, resisting the urge to move or turn them until the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown and crisp. Then we turn the thighs skin side up to finish cooking.” They’re not joking when they say leave the chicken alone. The thighs cook for almost 30 minutes undisturbed; just keep an eye on the heat to make sure the skin doesn’t get too dark.
“We eat them seasoned simply with salt,” they continue, “or embellish them with any number of other seasonings.” Yep, we’re trying this method tonight.
Excerpted from Canal House Cook Something. Copyright © 2019 by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved.
8 whole chicken thighs, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces pancetta, diced
1 garlic clove, sliced
Splash of white wine vinegar
1½ to 2 cups green olives, preferably Castelvetrano, pitted or not
1. Season the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper and arrange them in a large, heavy skillet in a single layer, skin side down. Cook them over medium heat without moving them until the fat has rendered out and the skin is deep golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes. You can fiddle with the heat throughout, reducing it to medium-low if the skin begins to burn before it gets evenly golden brown.
2. Scatter the pancetta into the skillet around the thighs. Turn the thighs over and continue cooking them until the meat closest to the bone is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir the pancetta as it cooks so it browns evenly. Add the garlic, vinegar and olives to the skillet about 5 minutes before the thighs are finished cooking. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve the thighs with the pancetta, olives and pan drippings.