Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jacques Pepin's Crusty Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Sauce

I've always been a big fan of Jacques Pepin, but this is the first of his recipes I've attempted to cook. It didn't go as I wanted it to, but I figured I'd post it anyway. The Wookie said it was pretty damn good, not that I'd know, I don't like cooked mushrooms. If they are in a sauce or on a pizza, I can generally handle them which is why I wanted to try this, I figured I could deal with the mushroom sauce and the Wookie loves him some mushrooms, so even though I couldn't hack this, I'm happy I made it because he got to eat one of his favorite foods.

Look for (hopefully) a new recipe every week, by the way. I'm trying to get back to posting more recipes, but there will still be beauty reviews and craft tutorials - just more recipes, too. On with the song and dance, no?

First thing you'll need is roughly 1 3/4 lbs of chicken thighs, skin, bones, and all.  Well, not feathers, obviously.  2 pounds is the closest I could find, so it works.

Lay them skin-side down and cut a slit on either side of the bone.

Salt and pepper both sides.  There is a 1/2 tsp each measurement for this in the recipe, but I just eyeballed it.

Lay the chicken skin-side down in a cold, heavy skillet.  I used this stainless one as my cast irons don't have lids.  Cue crying jag.  Turn said skillet on high until you hear the chicken start to sizzle, then turn it down to medium.

Cover and let cook 20 minutes or until the chickens are done.


Now, guys, my chicken skins stuck badly.  I did this in two batches because of the tiny stainless skillet and figured the second batch couldn't possibly stick since I laid it over the still-stuck-on-skin of the first batch that was on there with the power of every ancient deity ever.  I was wrong.  It managed to stick, too.  This happens every single time I make skin-on chicken on the stove and I don't know how to stop it.  It doesn't seem to matter what kind of skillet I use, what kind of oil, or what temperature and it drives me crazy because my chickens always come out ugly and torn up and I don't know how to fix it heeeellllllllpppp!  Seriously, every.  Time.  Unless its one of the recipes where I can hover over it uncovered and move them around constantly, then I'm okay, but if I have to cover and/or let it sit for more than 2 minutes - I'm scraping chicken skins with a spatula for a half hour.

 Remove the chicken and put them on a plate (or, as the recipe suggests, in a warm oven, but it was a warm day, so I just put them on a plate and put another plate on top to keep them warm.)

While those were cooking, I'd chopped up 3 cups of white mushrooms (at least I hope these were the right ones, but there are only two kinds at the local stores and one was massive and blackish-grey, so I used my best judgement), 1 cup of onions, 1.5 tbsp of garlic and 1 tbsp of chives.  The chives should have been a garnish, but I mis-read that part, so they became part of the "sauce".

Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the chicken fat and then add your vegetables and a dash of salt and pepper.  Sautee over high heat for 3 minutes.  In a perfect world, you'd be able to do this in the same skillet, but mine had two layers of chicken skin stuck on the bottom hence the wardrobe change.

Pour in 1/3 of a cup of chicken stock or white wine.  I used chicken stock because it is cheap and we didn't have any wine.  I don't think vodka would have done the trick.

After you add the stock, let cook on high for another minute so the "sauce" can reduce.  I say "sauce" because it kept looking just like that above.  I can't help but think the sautee and reduction times are either too low or were perhaps made for a gas stove because I sauteed about 2 minutes more than I should have and let reduce about 3 more minutes as well.  It just kept looking like a chunky soup instead of a sauce, so I just gave up and figured that was how it should look since, other than extending the cooking times of the "sauce" a bit, I'd followed the recipe almost to the letter.

Here it is plated up and sorry I didn't get a shot in natural light.  I made some red mashed potatoes to go under it since I'd expected the mushroom sauce to be, oh, I don't know, a SAUCE instead of a chunky soupy side dish.  As I said, the Wookie said it was pretty damn good, but not being a fan of mushrooms and this turning out NOTHING like I'd planned, just looking at it made me feel queasy, so I passed.  I took a bite of the chicken, though, and that was fine...Will probably turn the leftover chicken into quesadillas.  *.*

Have you made this recipe?  Is the "sauce" supposed to look like that or did I manage to screw something up?


Wookie Wifey


  1. looks nummy! I too have issues with chicken skin. Sadly cannot help you as I have found the only way to prevent it...is to not even try it! lol.

    1. Oh, no, its personal now. One day I shall cook chicken and on that glorious day it SHALL NOT STICK!

    2. and when that glorious day comes, you must blog your secret so we can all have our own glorious day!