I love spending whole Sunday afternoons in the kitchen, braising big hunks of meat low and slow until they’re falling off the bone. I’m in heaven leisurely browsing through cookbooks to find just the right recipe to impress my dinner guests. Nothing makes me happier than testing out a new recipe, tweaking its ingredients until they’re harmoniously balanced and perfectly delicious.
But scratch all that Monday through Thursday. Weeknights are busy. After a long day at work, an agonizingly slow rush-hour commute filled with expletives, and a grumbling belly begging for dinner, I become less concerned about harmoniously balancing the sweet and salty elements in my dish and more concerned about harmoniously balancing my busy life and my hangry disposition.
Enter my go-to, super dependable, always easy, incredibly flexible and forgiving, five-minute chicken. This isn’t the dish you bust out to impress your in-laws, but it is the one you lean on when any of the following applies to you: 1) your fridge is practically empty except for that last pack of chicken you snagged at Whole Foods a couple of days ago; 2) you, your significant other, and/or your kids are lying on the floor melodramatically accusing you of malnourishment; 3) you’re dangerously close to opening a bag of pretzels and calling it a night.
It’s almost impossible to keep your cool when just one of the above situations apply, but three, all THREE?! Don’t panic, don’t call for takeout, and put down those pretzels! Take a deep breath and grab that chicken you had the foresight to pick up earlier this week. In just a few minutes your hunger pains will be a distant memory and your kids will be running to their rooms to craft you a “World’s Best Cook” award. Too far? Ok, well you won’t be hungry and you’ll have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Let’s call that a win.
Seriously, this chicken is quick and easy to prepare, requires ingredients you probably already have on hand, and is super versatile. I love to toss this super moist, tender, lemony chicken on a bed of greens. It’s also more than capable of standing out as the star of the show next to some steamed veggies for a light, late-night dinner. Layer it on top of rice and roasted veggies for a hit of protein that will keep you full all afternoon. Whatever you do, just don’t run out of chicken! I buy a three pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs most weeks (I find them more tender and tasty than chicken breasts). I’ll keep two out to prepare during the week in different recipes and throw the third in the freezer for another rainy (read: unprepared) day.
Keep this recipe in your pocket. No need to brag about it on Instagram or Pinterest. It’s simple, but it’s tasty and will save your dinner dilemmas in no time flat. Ok, maybe just a tiny humble brag on social media where you recount your harrowing day and then show picture proof of the healthy, delicious meal you prepared in spite of it all. Pretzels: 0; Home cookin’: 1.
This chicken is quick and easy to prepare, requires ingredients you probably already have on hand, and is super versatile.
- 4 chicken thighs about 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless (or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp granulated onion
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp olive oil or bacon fat
- 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 lemon
Cut the chicken into one-inch pieces, removing any unwanted fat or gristle in the process. Season the cut chicken with the salt, pepper, onion, and garlic. Set aside.
Preheat a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet to medium high. Add the oil (or bacon fat) and allow to heat for another 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the chicken to the pan and spread it out over the whole surface in one even layer. Let brown for two minutes without stirring.
Stir the chicken to ensure even browning and add the lemon juice. Let cook another 2-3 minutes until the lemon juice has thickened and become a light sauce and the chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.
Top with chopped chives or thyme and serve.