Recipe of the week
Chicken with peanut butter gravy: Peppery Southern comfort
“The taste of crispy-skinned, pan-roasted chicken with pan gravy will never, ever get old to me,” said chef Sean Brock in South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations (Artisan). The key is to salt the chicken and refrigerate it overnight so that excess moisture dissipates.
Here, the chicken is served with a peanut butter gravy made with green peanut oil and green peanuts—which in the South are easy to find this time of year.
Recipe of the week
Chicken breasts with peanut butter gravy
Four 10-oz skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
1 tbsp canola oil, or as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
5 thyme sprigs
¼ cup very finely diced sweet onion
1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp green peanut oil (such as Oliver Farm)
2 tsp fresh lime juice
¾ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup mint leaves
¼ cup shelled green peanuts, roughly chopped
Coarse finishing salt
Liberally season chicken breasts with salt. Place on a rack set over nonreactive baking dish. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours.
Remove chicken from refrigerator and leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Heat canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Pat chicken breasts with paper towels. Season liberally with pepper. Place chicken breasts in skillet, skin side down. Sear until skin is crispy, about 4 minutes. Add thyme to skillet, turn breasts over, and transfer skillet to oven. Roast for about 10 minutes (until thermometer inserted in breast reads 140). Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Lightly cover with foil.
For the gravy: About 1½ tbsp of fat from the chicken should be left in skillet (add oil if needed). Remove thyme from skillet and place skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it starts to soften. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour begins to turn a light golden color, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in milk and chicken stock. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; stir in peanut butter, 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp green peanut oil, 1 tsp lime juice, and ¾ tsp pepper, and return gravy to simmer. Season lightly with salt; remove from stove.
To complete: Combine parsley, mint, peanuts, 2 tsp green peanut oil, and 1 tsp lime juice in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to combine; set aside. Keeping skin on, carve chicken away from bones. Slice each breast crosswise into ¾-inch-thick slices. Using pastry brush, lightly brush slices with 2 tsp green peanut oil and sprinkle with finishing salt. Spoon some gravy into center of four warm plates and place a sliced chicken breast on each. Garnish with herb salad. Serves 4. ■