Whenever we do happen to go out someplace to eat, if I am not getting a cocktail (I prefer a Grey Goose martini on the rocks with olives) or a beer (I try different beers but I am a Guinness fan myself), I stay away from sodas and the like. I’ll have a soda every now and then at home but it is not my first choice. Instead I find that I very often like to have an Arnold Palmer – a mix of iced tea and lemonade. There is something about the flavor combination I really enjoy, with the sourness of the lemonade going nicely with the distinct flavor of the iced tea. It is a particularly refreshing drink in the summertime as well. I can remember Michelle and I having them while we watched the horse races at Saratoga Springs years ago. So what could be better than having a cold, refreshing Arnold Palmer in the summer? Bringing that flavor to your dinner table of course! I found this recipe from The Kitchn for Arnold Palmer pan-roasted chicken thighs that was the perfect combination of flavors and ease that made it right for trying out.
Arnold Palmer Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs
For the brine:
4 cups water
4 black tea bags, like Lipton or Twinings
3 (2-inch) slices of lemon peel about an inch wide
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the chicken:
2 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on, about 4 to 6 (or a combination of chicken pieces you like)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off the heat, add the tea bags and the lemon peel, cover the pot, and let the tea steep for 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and remove the tea bags. Stir in the sugar and the salt and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Place the chicken thighs in a large zip-top bag and pour in the tea and lemon juice. Refrigerate the chicken for 2 to 4 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels, and season it with pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken to the skillet, skin-side down and evenly spaced apart. Cook the chicken until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, adjusting the heat if the skin begins to burn, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Carefully flip the chicken, skin-side up, and scatter over the lemon slices, tucking a few slices underneath the chicken. Place the skillet in the oven and cook the chicken for another 10 to 12 minutes. Brush the skin with honey and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees registered on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken pieces.
This recipe does take a little bit of planning ahead so that you can brine the chicken, but it is certainly worth the little bit of effort to do it. I used a mix of chicken pieces when I made it because that is what I had on hand, but I think you could do this one pretty well with just thighs, drumsticks, breasts (bone-in or boneless) and even chicken wings. The chicken had the nice lemony flavor along with the sweetness of the honey and the hint of iced tea from the brine. The brining also helps to keep the chicken moist and plump, making it taste even better. You could serve this with just about any type of sides that you want, but it goes great with some rice (use some of the sauce from the chicken to flavor the rice) or even a nice salad on the side. It’s definitely one I will keep in my chicken rotation.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!