Cast Iron Chicken

Obligatory food post disclaimer: This is not a recipe. I wouldn’t even really call it advice. I’m just telling a story about my favorite way to make chicken. Always remember that cooking times and temps vary with your equipment, climate, thickness of meat, and tons of other things that I can’t predict. Your mileage may vary. The door is ajar. Offer not valid in…  wait, what was I saying?

I don’t usually measure things when I cook. Unless I’m following an existing recipe, I kind of just throw stuff together and see what works.

This is what I cooked for two adults today:

  • 1.3 lbs of local, Amish-farm-raised, boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 5 baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A shitload of salt, basil, oregano, and grated Parmesan
I’m lazy, but I still like to mince my own fresh garlic. It just tastes better than the pre-minced kind. Also, I never cook without using my favorite prep bowl set.


The key when I cook chicken is to use my 10 inch cast iron skillet. I have a set of three cast iron skillets, and I was not at all prepared to own them when I was given them as a gift last Christmas. After leaning heavily on advice from this excellent book, I’m a lot more comfortable with using them, and they are definitely my favorite way to brown meat.

On this particular occasion I used coconut oil, and I used more than I normally would because fresh mushrooms tend to soak a lot of it up. I like to start with the garlic alone for a few seconds, until it’s fragrant.

Can you smell the garlic? So good.

Then I throw in whatever veggies I’m using, and I’m about as precise with vegetable cooking times as I am with measuring ingredients. I just move them around the pan until they look right, which was probably about 5 minutes for this meal.

And if this doesn’t look right to you, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.

At this point I put everything in the pan on a warm plate, and then I crank up the heat a little and cook the chicken for a few minutes on each side, just enough to get a good brown sear. Once that looks good, I always move the pan off the burner and finish the whole thing in the oven. The new thing I tried today was adding the cooked vegetables back in, and then dumping small mountains of Parmesan cheese on each chicken thigh.

Extreme close-up of oven readiness!

I park the whole pan in the oven at 425°F. Cooking time varies quite a bit depending on the thickness of the chicken. This particular pan of thighs was in about 12 minutes total, the first 7 with foil tented loosely over the top, and the last 5 without it. (Always use a meat thermometer for safety!)

Even my picky husband ate it.

If you’ve followed along this far, congratulations! Serve it. Photograph it. Instagram it with way too many hashtags. Enjoy! You earned it!

Now go wash the dishes, you slob.

2 thoughts on “Cast Iron Chicken

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