Cast Iron Cooking: Chicken and Brussel Sprouts

Y’all I love cast irons! I believe everyone should have at least one cast iron pan in their kitchen. I have several cast iron pans, but my favorite is the 10″ cast iron pan; it is the perfect size for my small family of two. I also have a 12″ pan that I use for larger meat portions as well as for skillet meals, and a grill pan so I can grill inside during the winter. These have been game changers in my kitchen.

Some of you may be asking, why do you love cast iron so much? Because they add texture and flavor to every dish you make in them, but mainly for the texture, because y’all know I am all about incorporating textures into my dishes. They help crisp up your food, whether you are making meat and trying to create a crispy outer layer, or you are sauteing vegetables and desire a slight char on them, the cast iron achieves this goal beautifully. How do they add flavor? Because you never wash them with soap, so the seasonings from the last dish you made soak into the porous material and help add a depth of flavor to you your next dish, providing you with continual, compounded flavor.

You may have read the paragraph above and be wondering how do you clean cast iron if you don’t use soap? You use natural cleaning substitutes that, again, add flavor to your next dish. I use warm water and a soft rag to clean out the gunk from the dinner before and then I’ll use a nice layer of salt and gently rub the inside of the pan and discard. Then you need to set on a burner to make sure the moister is all dried up to prevent rust, and finally you use oil on a rag and rub a very thin layer of oil all over the cast iron for protection. This process helps keep flavor in the pan while adding another layer of flavor for protection.

Cast iron can be time consuming because of the care, so you can imagine I do not use them all the time, but they are worth it every once in a while. They help change things up in the kitchen when you are stuck in a lul, eating the same thing over and over again. Today I spiced things up by using my cast iron pan, because we accidentally bought skin on and bone in chicken from Costco, we normally buy boneless and skinless meat. When dealing with chicken skin it is imperative that you cook the chicken with the skin side down the majority of the time, to make the skin nice and crispy, or you will have rubbery gross textured meat. Since I needed to achieve a nice crisp texture I whipped out my cast iron pan and went to work. Tonight’s dinner was crispy chicken thighs (for my husband) and brussel sprouts!

Garlic and Herb Cast Iron Chicken and Brussel Sprouts

First off this meal is great because you only use one pan, and I am all about limiting the amount of dishes I have to do later!

INGREDIENTS

4 bone in and skin on chicken thighs

about 4 cups of quartered brussel sprouts

4 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 1/2 teaspoons of garlic salt divided

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper divided

2 teaspoons dried thyme (divided in half)

2 teaspoon dried rosemary (divided in half)

3 to 4 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon corn starch

1/2 cup of chicken stock (or vegetable)

DIRECTIONS 

**If you are a vegetarian or vegan start with step one and skip to step 5**

  1. Warm up the cast iron pan to medium heat for a few minutes with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Test the heat by adding a drop of water and when it sizzles the pan is hot enough. (This will take 3-5 minutes depending on how fast your burner gets hot).
  2. Add the chicken skin side down (your meat should sizzle, if it does not, take out the meat and wait a few more minutes) and sprinkle the meat with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper total. Cover and leave skin down for around 12-15 minutes. Checking the brownness and maybe re-positioning to get an even brown color every 6z minutes.
  3. While these are cooking cut the brussels into fourths and place in a roasting pan or mixing bowl. Season these with 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary.
  4. Once you have achieved the brownness you desire flip the chicken to cook through for around 3 minutes. Do not cover, it will soften the crisp of the chicken. Sprinkle another teaspoon of garlic salt, half teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and half teaspoon dried rosemary. If you are nervous about whether the chicken is done or not you can put a meat thermometer into the meatiest part of the chicken and see if it reaches 165 degrees F.
  5. Take the chicken out to rest and place the brussels in the pan. This helps create more flavor for the brussels soaking up the chicken juices. (If you are vegetarian or vegan start with step one and just skip to this step). Spread them out evenly and let them sit for 3-4 minutes to achieve a char and then mix and leave for another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Take out the brussels and add the minced garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic because they will make your dish very bitter. Add the corn starch and mix, quickly add the stock and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Drizzle sauce over the chicken and the brussel sprouts and enjoy!

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