Chicken was, unfortunately, a staple in my house when I was growing up. I say “unfortunately” because it was never really all that good (sorry mom). My mom would throw chicken breasts, rice, and maybe some peas in a casserole dish, cover it with water, or, if we were lucky, maybe a can of mushroom soup or something, and bake the crap out of it. The chicken would be fairly flavorless and require a ton of salt, and would be dry and rubbery at the same time. The peas and the rice were mushy. But hey – it was food.
It turns out there are better ways to cook chicken. Chicken breast is very low in fat, so it tends to dry out when cooked, especially if something isn’t keeping them moist. And a big fat chicken breast just simply isn’t going to absorb much flavor, unless you maybe stick it in the crockpot with some herbs all day long. As much as I love my slow-cooker, I don’t always get my act together early enough in the morning to even have 10 minutes to throw and few things in the crock-pot. But what I can do is grab a chicken out of the freezer and let it thaw while I’m at work – or swing by the grocery store on the way home to grab a bird (my butcher actually debones the whole chicken for me, but you can find directions here on how to do it at home)
And then I’m set to make the Best Effing Chicken ever, which, from start to finish, is ready in under two hours. Here’s how I make this work… First thing when I get home, I get a little snack to make sure I don’t get overly hungry before dinner is ready. As I munch on my snack, I start preparing the chicken. I pop it in the fridge and then I do whatever needs doing for the next hour or so while the chicken gets its flavor on in the fridge. When I’m doing this weeknights after work, I usually just let it sit for an hour but if I have more time, like on the weekends, I’ll let it chill for up to three hours.
By the time I’ve taken a quick shower and changed out of work clothes, maybe picked up the house a bit or done a few in-home errands (that’s what I call opening mail and paying bills and stuff), the chicken is ready for the oven. While the chicken is broiling, and then baking, I prepare a veggie side dish. I love this chicken with sweet potatoes on the side, but just about whatever veg dish you crave will go well with the Best Effing Chicken.
By the time I’ve finished making my side dish, the chicken is ready to come out of the oven. While it’s resting, I set the table, pour myself a nice big glass of sparkling water with a few slices of lime (my favorite beverage) and – voila – I’m ready to eat the Best Effing Chicken.
And it really is the Best Effing Chicken. I’m not just saying that. It’s moist (because while it cooks, it bastes in its own fat) and crisp (the broiling does this) and so, so flavorful. If there are leftovers, I make pulled chicken (just use a fork to tear the chicken into smaller pieces) and package it with a hearty salad for lunch the next day.
So ditch your old dried-out chicken breast recipes with the goopy rice and mushy peas (mom – are you listening?). This Best Effing Chicken recipe is perfect for Paleo and non-Paleo eaters everywhere.
(Make this next: The Most Addictive Cashew Chicken Ever)
[Recipe credit: GFF Magazine]
- 4 pounds chicken, deboned
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- In a small bowl mix salt, lemon zest and thyme.
- Season the chicken with salt mixture and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
- Twenty minutes before roasting, remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
- Set the oven to broil.
- Place the chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Cook under broiler for 10 minutes, rotating the chicken every few minutes for even browning.
- Lower the heat to 250ºF and cook for 25 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and tent it with a foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice and serve.