As unpleasant as dinner was the night before, I didn’t want to leave things with Sarah not-liking dark meat chicken. I wanted to give the chicken another try, but I really had to make sure that she would like it or she might have made me cook vegetarian for the next week. Plus, I had like two pounds of raw chicken sitting in my fridge that I wanted to get rid of, so I had to do something.
For most of the day, I figured I would slow cook it for a couple of hours. That way, all the parts of the chicken that Sarah considered gooey or nasty from the night before would melt away into a slow cooked chicken that would be nice and tasty. But that would be a cop out, I thought. I decided that I would not let the iron skillet chicken defeat me. I wanted to try it again.
The first thing I did differently was to butcher the chicken into thighs and drumsticks. Although I liked the idea of having an intact thigh and drum, I thought it might help with the cooking. Plus, this gave me an opportunity to separate this chicken from the spine, a likely source of some gooey nasty bits. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to remove the spines of the chicken in last night’s recipe. I also got rid of some extra skin. There just seemed to be a lot of it, for some reason.
Then, I put only a tiny bit of canola oil in the pan set on medium high to high. Once it got hot, I added the chicken. No salt or pepper or rosemary or thyme or anything. I also set my oven to 400 to preheat.
I let the chicken fry in the iron skillet for a while until I got a really, really crispy skin. Then, I rotated it to do it on the other side. I let the iron skillet do its magic with the chicken. It fried for more than 4 minutes per side.
At that point, I put the iron skillet into the oven and started on my butternut squash. Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables mostly because it makes me giggle inappropriately both when I see it and when I say it. I mean, it’s butt-er-nut squash and it looks like a cocknballs. Talk about a double whammy.
Preparing the squash was conceptually simple: I cut off the outer rind, cut it in half, cored out the seeds, and cubed it. But I always feel like I am going to lose a finger when I try to peel the butternut squash.
I diced the butternut squash, tossed it in some olive oil, and put it on a baking tray. I put that in the oven, which was already cooking the chicken at 400 degrees, for 20 or 30 minutes.
I cooked the chicken in the oven for a total of 40 minutes in the oven, which was probably a little too long. But, after last night’s undercooked chicken fiasco, slightly overcooked was welcome. And overall, the chicken was fantastic. The skin was super crispy and salty, even though I didn’t add any salt. The meat was tender and didn’t taste anything like the chicken I had made the night before. And the natural sweetness of the butternut squash was a nice complement overall.
Victory was mine that night. And it tasted like chicken.