I have to admit that I do a majority of our grocery shopping at Costco. (No, Costco did not pay me to write this.) This goes probably goes against what some of my gourmet friends believe and I can understand why. Costco is not a sexy place. The fluorescent lights are not doing anyone any favors for the appearance of the produce section. There are tomatoes available in the middle of winter. Yes, I buy them. Are they fragrant, supple, and exploding with flavor? Of course not. But, we like our tomatoes.
Mainly, we shop at Costco because it is the best deal in town. They have great meats and the produce is acceptable. Is it locally grown? No. Am I increasing my carbon footprint by shopping there? Maybe. But it is our reality. I’d venture to say 90% of our groceries come from Costco. This is especially true in the winter, when there are no farmers’ markets or CSAs. It is a lot of food, but rarely do we struggle to finish the produce we buy. We buy a lot of produce for two people. On our average Costco trip, which we make every other week, we buy a carton of tomatoes, a 2.5 pound bag of celery, a 5 pound bag of carrots, a 2 pound bag of bell peppers, and some other vegetable that looks appealing, such as a salad mix, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, or bok choy. That does not include the onions and potatoes we always have in the house. And, I’ll leave the fruits and meats we buy for another post. All this to say–I hate grocery shopping and I love cooking.
So, last Sunday, I had seven chicken thighs in the freezer, ½ pound of mixed potatoes and a few tomatoes to work with for our dinner. These were skin-on chicken thighs and if the skin is there, I wanted to use them. Not the healthiest of choices, but we can’t eat boneless, skinless chicken breasts all the time! So, after de-frosting the chicken, I whipped up a new creation, Crispy Chicken P&T (Potatoes & Tomatoes). The hardest part was pan-frying the chicken because of the oil splatter. The best part was the crispy skin!
CRISPY CHICKEN P&T
Yield: About 4-6 servings
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on (you can use boneless, but your cooking times will decrease)
black pepper (preferably freshly ground)
approx. 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound small potatoes (Yukon gold, red new – or any other small potato will work)
2 large tomatoes or 1 lb cherry tomatoes
approx. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Pat chicken dry. Rub chicken with salt, pepper and oregano and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. In a large heavy bottom pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and place chicken skin side down. The chicken should be placed in one layer in the bottom of the pan, so you may need to fry the chicken in batches. Leave the chicken, skin side down for about 10 minutes. Resist the temptation to move the pieces around. You want to leave them alone so you get a nice sear and the crispy skin. After about 10 minutes, flip the pieces over and fry for another 7-8 minutes. The chicken should be close to done, but don’t worry if the juices aren’t running totally clear.
While the chicken is frying, cut the potatoes and tomatoes into large wedges. Toss the potatoes lightly with olive oil and place in the oven. Set aside the tomatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon dried oregano, red wine vinegar, and about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
When all of the chicken pieces are fried, take the potatoes out of the oven, and toss the chicken, potatoes and tomatoes with the oil and vinegar mixture on a large baking sheet lined with foil. The chicken should now be skin side up.
Place everything back in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven before serving.
TIP: Chicken is ready when the juices run clear. If you lightly prod the chicken with a fork and the chicken does not appear rubbery it is likely done. You can also use a meat thermometer and the thighs should read at 165 degrees F.