Blackened Chicken

On Monday I made blackened chicken for the first time. It was a recipe in the current issue of Cooks Illustrated. I had purchased some chicken breasts at the local farmer’s market. There is a meat vendor who I have to buy at least one thing from each Tuesday.

There is a lot of heat in blackened chicken, especially when one uses Hungarian paprika over regular paprika. Adding in cayenne and pepper, adds to the heat.

In the recipe was also a bit of a hack in working with chicken breasts. I don’t know about you, but a regular chicken breast is a bit tricky since it has different “depths” by nature of how the breast is cut. The hack was cutting the breast in half, then cutting the thickest part in half again. Of course, it always helps to pound the breast down a bit too to help get a consistent thickness.

What I was most afraid of was the amount of smoke that is usually generated when cooking meat at a high heat. What helped was to essentially cover the entire bottom of the cast iron skillet, fitting the chicken pieces together like a puzzle. This left very little space for anything to burn around the edges, and generated almost no smoking. No fire alarms going off when frying this way!

The chicken was paired with roasted corn on the cob and fingerling potatoes, again from the farmer’s market. The corn was roasted inside the husks, at medium heat, for about 10-minutes on each side. I placed the potatoes in an aluminum foil wrap to roast as well. Salt, pepper, and some garlic salt were the only spices for the potatoes. To help with any sticking issue, I had sprayed the foil with some Pam, and sprinkled some salt and pepper as a bed for the potatoes to rest on. The potatoes were roasted and flipped at the same time as the corn.

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture (I know, how could I have forgotten!). Close your eyes and picture some slightly charred chicken, softened potatoes, and corn-on-the-cob, and that was our plate.

It all did taste delicious as only fresh farm food can when cooked. But, I will say, the chicken tasted even better the second and third day later. All those spices just kept adding flavor, whether in a burrito, a sandwich, or just chicken on a plate.

If you have the chance, I recommend giving the blackened chicken a try, adding your favorite sides. It will be a mouth-watering dinner with very little effort.

If you do decide to give it try, let me know what you thought.

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