The other day, I was watching one of my favorite YouTube cooks, J. Kenji-Lopez Alt, and he was making a one-pit chicken dish with carrots, cabbage, and stuff. It looked fantastic and was a perfect meal for dinner for the family that night.
I made a few changes since not everyone in our house likes cabbage, so I found some substitutes that I thought would work.
First I had to sear the chicken. This dish works great with thighs with the skin on. I suspect legs would work too, but I had thighs and boobs to do.
The thighs scorched easily, but the brisket being larger, didn’t sit flat in the pan, so I had to adjust as they scorched.
After searing the thighs and breasts, it was time to think about what to add to this dish.
The bottom of the pan had a lot of treats in it, the bits of chicken skin and meat on the bottom of the pan, and I knew I had to be that in the dish, just like Kenji did in his video.
The only difference was that I didn’t have cabbage, so I used carrots and celery to start.
I added a can of chicken broth to start, then added the carrots and celery and scraped the bottom of the pot to get all those tasty bits mixed in with the veggies.
As I stirred the vegetables and started to soften, I added garlic.
You never want to add garlic too soon because garlic cooks quickly and would have browned if I added it too soon.
Once the garlic became aromatic, I added tomato paste and stirred it until it mixed with the vegetables and the chicken broth.
I had a great sauce now, and it was time to add more chicken broth to the mix and find one last veggie to add.
The point of this dish is that once you have prepared the vegetables, you add the chicken that you seared to the pan.
You want to place the chicken gently over the vegetables, so the skin stays crispy. You’ve done all that work to make the skin crispy; you don’t want the juice below to take that off the dish. It is this crispiness that makes this dish special.
Once you’ve settled the chicken over the vegetables, place it in a 400 degree oven and let it cook until done.
I decided to add peas as the last vegetable. This is something I thought would work; ultimately they were the wrong ones to use. They soaked the juice in the dish while we waited for everyone to come to the table.
Oops I forgot I also added potatoes to make sure I had enough vegetables for everyone.
I didn’t have a pan big enough for the amount of chicken and veggies I cooked that night, so I used my lasagna pan, which was big enough to hold it all at once.
It wasn’t a casserole like the one Kenji used, but this dish worked well for what I wanted.
As I said, the only good was to use peas in the dish. They soaked up all the juice in the dish, but boy, did they have great flavor.
The dish came out as good as it could get and everyone who dined that night was happy with their food.
I love when an experiment goes well and everyone enjoys their dinner.
Here is a small overview of the ingredients.
Peas instead of cabbage
Chicken broth-2 cans
salt/pepper to taste
Avocado oil – for searing the chicken
Chicken legs, thighs or breasts