Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Jacques Pepin's Crusty Chicken with Mushrooms and White Wine

My favorite hours of food programming on TV right now are found on lazy Saturday afternoons on PBS. The programs are not as high octane and thrilling as those on other networks, but they are far more useful. This past weekend I nearly lost it when I watched Jacques Pepin on his Fast Food My Way program cook chicken thighs in a non-stick skillet with absolutely no fat.

He just placed the pieces skin-side down in the skillet, turned the heat to high, and watched as the skin turned a glorious golden brown. Once sizzling, the skillet is covered, the heat is reduced to medium, and the chicken cooks until done. Pepin never flips or fiddles with it. How could this chicken be so easy?

The only fat in the skillet is rendered from the chicken skin. By the end there is a surprising amount. Luckily, it's used as the base for the quick pan sauce. The relatively simple sauce of mushrooms, onion, and garlic is saturated with a rich chickeny flavor. It's also good enough to eat with a spoon.

Pepin serves the chicken thighs with some shaved Brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat, which I tried, and they are well worth the effort. You could also serve this with a simple salad or some fresh vegetables.

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