Cast Iron Skillet Chicken with Cognac Sauce is full of fresh and rich flavors. A quick and easy one pan dish, it's great for a busy weeknight, and impressive enough for guests.
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken is a great example of what recipes on Cooking On The Weekends are all about -- it's creative and comforting food for casual entertaining.
This recipe is the result of throwing a handful of delicious ingredients -- in a specific order -- together in one pan. With varying degrees of heat throughout the cooking process, within about 40 minutes an incredibly scrumptious dish will be ready.
- olive oil - Regular or extra virgin.
- unsalted butter - I always cook (and bake) with unsalted butter so I can control how much salt is in the recipe.
- shallots - Shallots are slightly more mild and delicate than red onions. Choose shallots without bruises that are heavy for their size.
- garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which are indications of old garlic. Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots.
- dried thyme
- chicken - This recipe calls for a whole cut-up chicken that's bone-in, skin-off. You will likely only find a whole cut-up chicken that's bone-in, skin-on. It's easy to remove the skin at home. Fresh raw chicken should be a light pink color with white pieces of fat, little to no odor, soft and moist.
- chicken stock - Preferably sodium-free, and if not, low-sodium.
- lemon slices and juice - When Meyer lemons are in season (most of winter), I choose them over regular lemons. Meyer lemons are a touch less tart and a bit sweeter. And with a thinner skin and fewer seeds, they are incredibly juicy.
- salt - I cook (and bake) with Kosher salt. I prefer it over other salts for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
- black pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
- Use yellow or red onions if you don't have shallots.
- You can substitute fresh thyme for the dry thyme. If you do, use three times the amount.
- Cooking with cognac is delicious. If you don't have it however, cast iron skillet chicken works well with sherry, too. Or, you can omit it, and make up the difference with chicken stock.
- If your chicken has the skin on, it's helpful to use a paper towel to gently pull it off -- especially for the legs.
- The pan should be extremely hot when you add the chicken -- the idea is to quickly brown both sides, before cooking it through once the other ingredients are added. If you don't hear a sizzling sound when the chicken hits the pan, it's not hot enough yet.
- It's possible the chicken breasts will take an extra couple of minutes since they're thicker than the other pieces. If they seem under-cooked at the end of the cooking time, remove those that are cooked through and let the breasts cook for another few minutes.
How to Make it
- Add oil and butter to an a large cast iron skillet. Place it over medium heat and add the shallots and garlic.
- Sauté just until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme and stir.
- Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Move the shallots to the sides of the pan, turn the heat to high and add them to the skillet. Brown both sides and then turn the heat to low.
- Add chicken stock, cognac, lemon juice and lemon slices to the skillet.
- Cover, reduce the heat to low and braise just until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Add a little more butter and let it melt into the sauce.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
- For a hearty, wonderful meal, it would delicious to serve it with a rice dish, that will soak up any extra sauce. I love it with Roasted Garlic Basil Brown Rice, Cranberry Wild Rice or Poblano Pilaf.
- Potatoes and other hearty vegetables are always great to pair with chicken. Rustic Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes and Spinach Ricotta Rolls would both be perfect with this recipe.
- You can't go wrong adding a salad to a Cast Iron Skillet Chicken dinner. It's fantastic (and beautiful!) with Colorful Citrus Carrot Salad and Pickled Ginger Salad with Citrus and Wasabi Dressing.
More Cast Iron Skillet Recipes
- Skillet Sweet Potato Chicken
- Cornbread with Jalapeño and Bacon
- Slow Cooked Red Cabbage Stew
- Root Vegetable Baked Skillet Lasagna
Can you make it ahead?
While the leftovers are fabulous, this is best served right out of the skillet after it's done cooking.
Cognac is a specific type of brandy that's produced from distilled white wine.
For more information about Cognac, check out this Field Guide to Cognac.
Skillet dinners are a favorite in my house, and Cast Iron Skillet Chicken with Cognac Sauce is one of the best!
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken with Cognac Sauce Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ¾ cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 (approximately 3½-pound) whole, cut-up chicken, skin-off, bone-in
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup cognac
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium-sized lemon, washed, very thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sauté the shallots, garlic and thyme. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to a large cast iron skillet (approx. 12-inch). Place it over medium heat and add the shallots and garlic. Sauté until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, stir, and let it become aromatic -- about 30 seconds.
- Brown the chicken. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high and add them to the skillet. Brown both sides of the chicken and then turn the heat to low-medium. (You're not cooking the chicken through here, just browning the surface.)
- Make the sauce and add it to the skillet with lemon slices. In a small dish, mix the chicken stock, cognac and lemon juice together and then evenly pour it over the chicken. Add the lemon slices around, on top and below the chicken.
- Braise. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and braise just until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. (Cooking times will vary slightly, and often larger pieces, like the breasts, will take more time than smaller pieces.)
- Finish the sauce and serve. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and let it melt into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve! (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
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