Monday, November 16, 2015

simplest baked chicken

I know what you want.  Actually, it's what we all want.

Easy dinner, right?

My dad used to make baked chicken for us in the winter months and I couldn't appreciate then how easy it was.  But I knew it was tasty and filled us up.  That's what kids want, I guess.

Any grocery store will have split chicken breasts, with the bone in and skin on.  That's all you need.  Find organic if possible.  If the bone-in breasts aren't separately packaged, you can buy the whole chicken cut up (sometimes even cheaper) and save all the other pieces in the freezer to make stock in the crock pot later.  (I like to add carrots to my stock for color, but that's another post for another day.)


When you have the split breasts ready, drizzle with a little oil and get out the kosher salt.  Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Pop those chickens in a roasting pan or baking dish and salt the heck out of them.


It's really important to use the big grains of kosher salt here rather than tiny flecks of table salt that will melt away and disappear.  The kosher salt melts more slowly and not uniformly, meaning the chicken will be constantly bathed in salt while it cooks and the skin will get a little crispy-salty on the outside.  Mmm... are we interested now?  An hour later:  Salty, juicy, tender chicken.  It's like fried without the breading.  I know, nothing is as good as fried chicken, but we're talking about easy, remember?



You can roast some veggies at the same time and dinner will be done.  Easy.  I promise. And the chicken is tasty and moist enough that Kevin doesn't even ask for sauce.  (But a side of marinara can ease the pain for a picky eater if it's too dryyyyyyy.)

Pop in another round and you'll have leftover chicken for chicken salad, quesadillas, or soup later.  This trick also works when (horror of horrors) the grocery store is OUT of rotisserie chicken and that's the centerpiece of your dinner plans and the whole reason you were there.

Sometimes food is fancy and that is fun.  But this blog is for all occasions.  Easy dinner-- even the simplest baked chicken-- can still be delicious.  The recipe follows.



Simplest Baked Chicken

Split chicken breasts, bone in and skin on (preferrably organic)
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for drizzling and greasing the pan

Lightly spray or grease the bottom of a roasting dish.  Metal or glass is fine.  You just want enough oil to make it easier to clean up later.  If you skip this step, no worries.

Place the chicken breasts in the roasting pan and drizzle with a little vegetable oil.  Sprinkle very generously with kosher salt all over the breasts and especially on the skin.  (Do not use table salt.)  I always eyeball it, but I probably use at least 2 teaspoons of kosher salt per chicken breast.  You want plenty of salt to season the chicken while it cooks.

Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.  The juices should run clear and the temperature in the thickest part of the breast reach a safe 165 degrees.

The skin should be lightly golden and slightly crispy.  It'll be super salty, so I remove the skin before digging in, but I won't tell anyone if you decide not to.

Serve with anything, but we especially like this chicken alongside roasted veggies, macaroni and cheese, or potatoes gratin.

Thanks, Dad. 


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