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.