When Tim and I landed in New Zealand on Christmas Day 2015, the first thing he asked for was chicken chips, making me immediately rethink my commitment to travel to "the bottom of the world," as Tim calls it. A few chicken chips later, though, my faith in NZ was restored. Lo and behold, chicken chips are not in fact chips cooked in chicken fat or fed to chickens or made out of chicken or anything you might think. Instead, chicken chips are regular potato chips coated in "chicken salt," a seasoning mix commonly used on rotisserie chickens in Australia and New Zealand. I quickly became addicted, probably in no small part due to the MSG in the mixture.
A year later, my love of chicken salt-flavored things continues, but it's not as readily accessible in the US as it is in New Zealand. So, when my best friend Brooke unexpectedly came to town from Melbourne, she packed in her suitcase a container of chicken salt for me (plus hokey pokey-flavored chocolate!). We've used it as a salt substitute on everything we've cooked since, especially for its original purpose on roast chicken (which Brooke tells me is a classic late night drunk food in Australia). It's opened up my world to skin-on chicken breast, which is SO MUCH BETTER than skinless. It's juicier, plus the crispy skin that makes grocery store rotisserie chickens so amazing, and the drippings make the easiest, most delicious sauce. We've made it 3 times since Brooke was here 2 weeks ago, and it'll continue to be a staple.
If you can get your hands on chicken salt, use it, otherwise a mix of salt and pepper or any other seasonings you like will be equally awesome. Also, I so super strongly recommend getting a meat thermometer (I have this one and it's cheap and magnetic and I love it) to get the perfect temperature so your chicken doesn't dry out because dry. chicken. is. the. worst. Although, I poured enough sauce on top that I could have been eating rubber and probably wouldn't have noticed... Pan sauce FTW. Also also, I haven't talked about the spinach yet, but it was actually Tim's favorite part of the meal and the easiest thing ever, so it's an easy green side to add. Clearly, we love this meal, and I could not recommend it enough for an easy but fancy weeknight or date night dinner. Enjoy!
Roast Chicken Dinner
- 2 large bone in, skin on chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- lots of salt and pepper (or chicken salt, if you can find it!)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 cups spinach (it'll shrink down a LOT)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 and heat cast iron skillet over medium/high heat. Rub chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper (including under the skin), and place skin-side down in the skillet. Let cook for 3ish minutes so the skin gets crispy. There will probably be a bit of smoke, so I like to have a window open or the fan on before I get started. Flip the chicken and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. You can do this without a thermometer, but it is 10000x easier with one. Put the pan in the oven and cook until the chicken reaches 162 degrees internal temperature (or start checking around 20 minutes). Remove chicken to a plate and cover in foil to rest.
While chicken is resting, turn the skillet on low heat and add butter and garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minute. Add chicken broth and stir to deglaze the pan. Cook another 5 minutes or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (basically dip a metal spoon in and if the sauce slides slowly off, you're good).
In another pan, add remaining olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook over low-medium heat until fragrant, about one minute. Add spinach, salt, and pepper, and sautee until spinach is wilted but still looks fresh (so it's all soft but still bright green).
Plate everything and serve!
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