Chicken with additives

I recently read an article about Spanish food, and once again I had to do the eye roll when I heard that old chestnut about "the very best ingredients, simply prepared".
There´s some truth in that, but it ignores skill. Skill, experience, a good hand, call it what you will; that´s the quality that´s going to make the food sing. Give an organic chicken to an inept cook and you may very well get a stringy, tasteless dishcloth in gravy. Give one of those Spanish grannies a battery horror and watch as she magics it into croquetas that will make you sing. Rest assured, she will have used factory eggs and shop bought crumbs for that crispy coating, and I am quite happy to bet a substantial sum that she won´t have used extra virgin olive oil to fry them.
The process, the cooking, the things that you add and the care that you take, they matter as much as the ingredients. I hate to think that there are people out there being discouraged when they hear that patter about organic birds and heirloom tomatoes, who think they might as well reach for the frozen pizza because they don´t have time to make a sourdough starter.

So anyway, here´s a recipe for chicken thighs. If I can find organic chicken thighs I buy them, but often I can only find free range, and most of the time not even that; my local supermarket carries something they say is guaranteed by some humane sounding association and only fed vegetables, but I doubt we´re talking about prize poultry here. Not that it matters, they really are delicious:

First, salt them well. Then put them in a freezer bag with a glug of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, some Sherry, a couple of smashed garlic cloves, a spoonful of sugar and some herbs; dried, to add insult to injury. I like oregano.
All these things are, of course, additives, but they are good things that you add yourself, and have no numbers or unpronounceable names. Their purpose, however, is the same; to amplify the flavor of your chicken.
Leave it in the fridge overnight, or just an hour out of it.

Roast in a 200ºC oven until crisp and golden, about 45 minutes, but do check, because ovens vary.
You can bake these on a bed of parboiled or boiled potatoes and they will be out of this world, having soaked up all that wonderful chicken fat.

15 comentarios:

Su-Lin dijo...

Yes! Totally agree with you here!

Love your "additives" to your chicken recipe too.

Anónimo dijo...

So very true! I often marvel at friends who buy the best of the best only to serve something my cat refuses to eat! My Oma on the other hand could turn dirt into delicious....

VE dijo...

Absolutely agree. Here in the US, while there are endless choices, in many areas- even in highly populated areas outside the major cities- it's hard enough to find stores that carry the good stuff on a consistent basis. At least not when you don't have a whole day to spend shopping and going to out-of-the way places and multiple stores in search of the right stuff. Most of the time, you go with what the local grocery store has and make the best of it. Without the "make the best of it" part of the equation- yeah, it's true, you'll end up with lousy results even if you happen to start with top-notch, ultra expensive A5 Wagyu steaks...

Sammie dijo...

I was just debating on what to do with my chicken thighs in the fridge and this sounds yummy!

Tim in the Kitchen dijo...

Hi Jimena,

Elle at http://www.hippressurecooking.com/ mentioned that she followed the blog of a Scottish-based Spaniard and I was intrigued. I'm a Spanish-based Scot. You can find my blogs at:


The first one is not usually this bready, but I'm teaching some bread workshops at the moment so have gone a bit one-track!

krs dijo...

I completely agree! And it's even worse when people think you need $100+ pots to cook. Solid cookware is nice, but a good cook can make a banquet with pans from the dollar store and a hotplate.

alyce dijo...

I like your illustrations!

neil dijo...

It's the ability to turn simple things into tasy dishes that is the hallmark of a good cook. Love chicken thighs, they're the best part of the chook, will absolutely try this.

Thought you'd like to know, made some fish stock after a recent fishing trip, which went towards an arozz a la banda. Found a new Spanish recipe that called for a couple of ñora chillies which I remembered you sent me. They really gave a lift to the dish and I never would have had them ordinarily, thank you.

Almu dijo...

Acabo de descubrir tu blog gracias a i con i, enhorabuena, me encanta! Y tus ilustraciones son simplemente geniales!

Almu dijo...

Ups, I forgot, may I put a link to your blog in mine?

Almu dijo...

Ups, se me olvidaba preguntarte, ¿puedo poner un link a este blog en el mío (Dibujando en la cocina)?

lobstersquad dijo...

Su_lin: it´s all good stuff, isn´t it?
Anónimo: your Oma sounds like a right ´un
VE: you have to learn to cook, that´s all. people don´t like to hear that
Sammie: hope you liked it
Tim: hi Tim, I´ll definitely look at that. what a perfect blog match
Krs: true. good pots do make life easier, though they don´t have to cost millions, I agree.
alyce: thanks!
Neil: hey neil. So glad. You´ve made me think of ñoras now, must find some
Almu: hola, gracias, encantada del link, cómo no!

Anónimo dijo...

This is something in a similar vein about Spanish cookery:

foodiesheaven dijo...

I agree that to make good food does require some degree of skill and knoweledge, but if we can educate people into using better ingredients and to do simple things with it then that is only a good thing.
Great use of chicken thighs.

Pille dijo...

I love the title, dear Ximena. And I'll bookmark this for next week!