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I owe a lot to my Mom, and one thing I definitely inherited from her was a love of chicken. Mom was never silent about her love of chicken, and she often said she could eat chicken seven days a week. Tonight I remembered Mom by making her favorite chicken recipe: baked chicken thighs. We probably ate this chicken dish more than any other as we grew up, because it's simple to make, it bakes fast, it can feed a lot of people, and it's cheap. Mom's favorite chicken pieces were thighs. She loved every part of the chicken but especially preferred dark meat, and thighs are the juiciest and tastiest part of the entire bird. They're somewhat more difficult to eat than drumsticks, which is probably why drumsticks have always been more popular, but more often than not Mom would make baked thighs. And the recipe is as easy as this:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (Mom actually didn't cook much in cast iron, and usually used an aluminum sheet pan. But if you want to make this in cast iron, place your cast iron pan into the oven, dry, and preheat the oven and the pan to 425 degrees, so the pan will be smoking hot.)
Coat the top and bottom of your chicken pieces with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
When the oven is ready, brush olive oil over the surface of the hot cast iron pan. Place the chicken pieces onto the hot iron, skin side down.
Bake the chicken pieces in the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the chicken pieces over. Bake them in the oven, still uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, rest five minutes, and serve.
I didn't learn to cook for myself until only a decade ago, but Mom taught me this fast and easy chicken recipe when I was still in grade school. I used to say I couldn't cook to save my life, but I could still cook up this easy and tasty chicken dish, and I have Mom to thank for it. And thanks to her, I love cooking chicken more than any other meat, and I'll always go out of my way for chicken. Thanks, Mom!
Thanks for everything, Mom. We miss you!