It’s finally happened: After trying more recipes than I can count, I’ve finally learned how to cook chicken. Not just any chicken either. Chicken that’s tender, moist (sorry) and complexly flavorful—yet mind-blowingly simple. It’s pretty much the opposite of any chicken I’ve ever cooked before.
I’ve tried baked chicken (too colorless and rubbery) and cast-iron chicken started on the stove and finished in the oven (pretty good, but not tasty enough to be worth the effort). My sister Sophie talked about the merits of poached chicken, but I just wasn’t ready yet to accept boiled chicken as my weeknight-dinner reality. I was getting ready to accept that maybe learning how to cook chicken that was quick, easy and delicious was impossible. Like putting on symmetrical winged eyeliner or making a hoagie sandwich (it’s true. Just ask The Sandwich Mill—I lasted there for 2 weeks.)
But then one night James was watching a cooking show where Gordon Ramsay made chicken on the stove in less than 15 minutes. He cooked the veggies in the same pan. And he didn’t even bother to peel his garlic clove.
To keep the chicken moist, he finished simmering everything in a little bit of chicken broth, something I’d never thought to try. I made it the very next night with a couple of tweaks and it was SO easy and rich, I wanted to cry. James commented on all the flavors, which was funny because the ingredients are so simple. And did I mention you make your veggies in the same pot? I can’t stop thinking about it.
So if you’re in need of a new quick and easy chicken recipe or just one to replace all your old ones: this is it. This is how to cook chicken when you’ve had a hard, long day and want something that makes your house smell incredible in 13 minutes flat. And it’s also how to cook chicken that reminds you of your favorite fancy restaurant. So whether you plan to kick your shoes off or put on your favorite red lipstick and light some candles, here’s the one and only way you’ll ever need to remember how to cook chicken.
Quick and Easy Chicken Recipe (The Only One You’ll Ever Need)
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay
a glug of grape seed oil or EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed (unpeeled is perfect; see? told ya. best recipe ever)
5 oz chicken broth
a knob of butter (about 1-2 tbsp)
a splash of sherry
Season both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven over high. When the pan is very hot, add the chicken spread slightly apart, and add broccoli crowns and garlic cloves in the empty spaces between. Sear the meat for 2-4 minutes. When golden brown, flip chicken over, add chicken broth, butter and sherry. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring the broccoli every so often to ensure it cooks evenly.
Serve over quinoa or lentils and spoon pan sauce over it all. Breathe it all in, exhale and enjoy.
Tips for How to Cook Chicken Perfectly Every Time
- To sear, make sure your pan is hot, hot, hot. The pan should be very hot before you sear your meat. You should hear a sizzle when you place the meat in.
- The golden rule for a golden sear? Don’t touch it. Once you place your chicken in the pan, don’t move it around until it’s nicely seared and golden.
- Don’t crowd the pan. There should be space in between chicken thighs in your pan. Otherwise you’ll steam the chicken and it’ll be harder to get that golden crust.
- Switch up your herbs and veggies. Broccoli can easily be swapped out for your veggies of choice. Mushrooms or zucchini would be nice. And you can add thyme, rosemary or sage for different flavor profiles, too.