Smothered Skillet Chicken with Thyme Butter Mushrooms.
I will do whatever it takes to convince you to make this for dinner tonight.
You guys. This is what I am calling our MOST favorite chicken recipe of 2017 – the absolute BEST chicken recipe that everyone in this house can’t get enough of. This skillet chicken and mushrooms is unreeeeeal. The gravy? You will want to drink it. The crispy chicken skin? You might fight over it. The flavor here is so incredible that I’m actually mad that I’m not making this for our dinner tonight.
So I know this may not be the prettiest looking dinner… in fact it might be one of the ugliest things I’ve ever photographed. BUT.
The flavor is so, so good.
This is a take on Craig Claiborne’s smothered chicken from the New York Times. If I could tell you just HOW many times I have made this chicken this year? I mean, I can’t even count. Probably 20? Maybe more.
It’s technically a recipe for chicken under a brick and for my “brick,” I use a plate with two ten-pound dumbbells on top. Ha! So you don’t really need an actual BRICK, you just need something super heavy that can evenly weigh the chicken down. And you’re going to cut the backbone out of the chicken. Don’t freak out! It’s so easy once you do it.
Yessss. I know it looks semi unappealing. And yessss. Sometimes the most unappealing things are the best.
By far, the most delish part about this chicken, well, besides the gravy annnnd besides the actual chicken, is how crispy the chicken skin gets. I was making this recipe a TON before our kitchen remodel then had to take a brief hiatus when that happened. But it was one of the first meals I made once our kitchen was put back together. And now, I make it almost weekly. I don’t tend to make it a ton in the summer months because it does warm up my kitchen quite a bit since I have a gas stove. And the whole gravy thing is more comfort food to me, not a hey-let’s-sit-on-the-deck-with-white-wine-and-caprese-salads sort of thing. You know?
And even though it’s been horribly hot here (I have unapologetically fully transitioned to fall soooooo I’m just OVER it), I’ve still be making this recipe constantly since late August because it’s just so dang good. Like SO good.
I’ve wanted to tell you about it. Wanted to blog about the recipe. But it looks like this and… and… I just decided to do it.
The chicken cooks in a cast iron skillet and then you use the drippings to make a gravy, which it continues to cook in. Oh my gosh. I am not a huuuuge chicken person, especially when I am pregnant (like I want nothing to do with the stuff), but I could eat a plate of this chicken with some gravy drizzled over top and call it a day. Nothing else needed. No sides. Nada. Absolutely delicious and so satisfying.
HOWEVER. One of the things I really love to make with it are these thyme-buttered mushrooms. They get so soft and juicy and make for the most perfect topping or side dish or just accompaniment to the chicken. So flavorful and wonderful. Also kind of reminds me of this old school recipe I shared yearssss ago for caramelized chicken with mushrooms that is still a huge favorite of ours too. And yours! I always get emails and messages about that recipe even years later, so this one here is a must-try then.
But for now, I must scream from the rooftops about how you should make THIS one. And maybe make it with mashed potatoes too. I mean, just sayin’.
- 1 3 to 4 pound whole chicken
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock
- 16 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- Note: for this recipe, you want something super heavy, like a brick or a small baking dish filled with weights. I actually use a 6×6 inch baking dish or a plate and place two 8-pound weights inside of/on it!
- Take the chicken and spatchcock it – meaning you want to cut out the backbone and flatten it. It’s intimidating at first, but once you do it, it’s get easy! Here is a photo tutorial on it. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and once it’s melted, place the chicken skin-side down in the skillet, tucking the wings underneath. Place the plate or dish on top and put your weight (brights/weights/cans/etc) on top of it. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
- Remove the weights and place and carefully flip the chicken over so it’s skin-side up. Replace the plate and weights and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more.
- After 20 minutes, transfer the chicken to a plate. It’s okay if it starts to fall apart here! I like to leave all of the fat in the skillet unless there is a ridiculous amount (I like up to about 1/4 cup in the skillet). Whisk in the minced garlic and the flour to create a roux – you want the mixture to be golden in color and smell fragrant. Very slowly whisk in the stock, whisking the entire time until the mixture thickens. Once it’s thicken, add the chicken back to the skillet, skin-side up. Cover with the plate and weights again and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
- To serve, pull the chicken apart (it should fall apart on its own!) and place it on a plate. Cover it with some of the gravy and the thyme butter mushrooms. We adore this just as chicken and mushrooms, but it’s to die for with potatoes (roasted or mashed) and rice too!
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter and olive oil. Add in the mushrooms, stirring to coat, and cook until they are soft and juicy, stirring often, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
And forgive it for its lack of beauty.