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Pan Fried Chicken with a Sauce of Soured Cream, Onion, and Rosemary

Serves 2.

Time requirement: 30-40 minutes start to finish, plus 30 minutes to salt the chicken.

What you will need:

A pound of bone in, skin on, chicken thighs. Depending on their size, this could be 2-4 thighs.

½ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spray oil.

1 medium onion chopped, about 4-5 ounces.

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar.

6 tablespoons cream.

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

1 sprig of rosemary, approximately 3 inches long.

1 sprig thyme, approximately 3 inches long.

2 sage leaves

Additional salt if needed.

Warm serving plates.

Additional rosemary sprigs for garnish.

Special equipment: a cooking weight. This could be something designed for the purpose such as a Lodge 7-inch cast iron grill weight. But it could be small pan wrapped in foil. The weight sits atop the chicken as it cooks.


Pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels. Sprinkle the chicken thighs on both sides with the ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Set these aside, ideally for 30 minutes. While the chicken thighs rest you can chop the onion and set it aside.

Select a 10-inch or 12-inch fry pan. The chicken should not be crowded in the pan. Spray the frypan with spray oil. Heat the pan over a medium high heat until the oil begins to brown. A add the chicken thighs skin side down. Lower the heat to medium/medium low. As the chicken cooks it will begin to render its own fat. The goal is to maintain the heat to hear a consistent soft crackling sound of the chicken cooking in its fat. Weight the chicken while it cooks but move the weight from time to time to assure even pressure on the chicken to get a nice browning.

Once the chicken skin is nicely browned and crisp, turn it and cook it on its non-skin side without a weight over it. Continue to cook the chicken until it is done. It is done at an internal temperature of 175-180 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

While the chicken is cooking, place the onions in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan with the vinegar. Heat the onions over low heat covered until the onions are cooked: soft and translucent. This will take 5 to 15 minutes depending on your pan and your heat. When the onions are cooked, remove the cover and continue to cook the onions and the vinegar until all the vinegar has evaporated; this will probably be another 5 minutes. Carefully watch the onion so as not to burn them and to stop cooking them as soon as they are dry. Once they are dry add the cream, freshly ground pepper, and rosemary, thyme, and sage. Give it a good stir. Gently heat the cream to the barest simmer then turn off the heat and leave the pan to rest on the stove while the chicken cooks.

When the chicken has finished cooking, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate and cover with foil. Pour off all the fat in the pan. Heat the pan over moderately high heat and pour the cream/onion mixture into it and deglaze the pan with the cream/onion mixture. Stir the cream sauce as it cooks and reduces. When the cream has reduced to about two thirds of its original volume, and the sauce is thickened to the point that it easily coats a spoon, it is done. Taste it and adjust for salt. Remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs and the sage leaves.

Place the chicken thighs on warmed serving plates and spoon over the cream sauce. That’s it.

For color, garnish with additional rosemary sprigs or sage leaves.

As an alternative, this cream sauce is wonderful with well marbled pork chops which you sauté stove top in lard, clarified butter, or a neutral vegetable oil. Also, for chicken, tarragon (on its own) is a great alternative to rosemary, thyme, and sage.

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