It is hard to conceive of cooking any other way than with cast-iron for me lately. I have a few cast-iron pans that are used for just about everything because they cook very well, retain heat nicely and are pretty easy to clean. I have a few different sizes of pans and skillet so I can do pretty much anything from a small meal to a larger roast in the oven. If you take good care of your cast-iron pans, they can last for many years and you will not have to worry about food sticking to the pan if it is seasoned correctly. Outside of all that, I find that I can get a really nice sear and great browning on things like chicken when I use cast-iron. When I came across this recipe for cast-iron chicken teriyaki thighs from the Taste and Tell Blog, it seemed like a perfect fit for an easy weeknight meal. The original recipe is from a Americans Test Kitchen cookbook called “Cook It With Cast Iron.”
Cast Iron Chicken Teriyaki Thighs
8 bone-in chicken thighs, fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias
Set an oven rack in the center of the oven. Place a large cast-iron skillet on the rack, then preheat the oven to 500°.
While the skillet is heating, The chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then season them with salt and pepper.
When the oven reaches 500°, using potholders, remove the skillet from the oven and place it on the stove over medium heat. You can turn off the oven at this point. Add the vegetable oil, and heat the oil in till it is just smoking. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side down. Place a weighted Dutch oven over the chicken to weigh it down, and cook the chicken until the skin is crispy and well browned, about 16 to 20 minutes. Start checking the chicken at about ten minutes and adjust the heat as it is needed.
When the chicken is crispy and browned, remove the Dutch oven and flip the chicken thighs. Cook the second side (without being weighted down) until it is browned and crispy and when the chicken reaches 175° as an internal temperature, about 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger and cornstarch together until all of the ingredients are well blended and the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the fat off of the cast-iron skillet and add the mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and becomes glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the skillet with the sauce. Turn the chicken to coat it well in the sauce. Sprinkle the chicken with the green onions. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.
Just a note about weighing down the chicken so that you get a really nice sear on it. If you do not want to make a mess of your Dutch oven pan, you can always place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the chicken and then place the Dutch oven on top you will be able to get just the effect you are looking for without having to worry about cleaning another pot once you are done. You can also throw a couple of unopened cans that you may have in your pantry into the Dutch oven to give it even more weight. The final result of the recipe is a very nice crispy skin that has a beautiful coating of the teriyaki sauce on top. The taste of the sauce was fantastic with the chicken and I served the dish with some fried rice that I had made to really make it a somewhat more Asian inspired dish. You can do the entire meal in under thirty minutes so it can be a great choice for any weeknight.
That is all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!