Peaches and creamy cheese team up for a simple and savory summer dish.
This recipe is all about highlighting natural flavors, not altering them. Fresh summer peaches are so good just as they are that it's almost a shame to cook them. Almost! The secret to the success of this dish is to use peaches that are about two days from being perfectly ripe because such peaches are sweet enough and developed in flavor but not so soft as to fall apart while being cooked. Any cut of bone-in/skin-on chicken will work beautifully in this dish. As for the pickle juice, right out of the jar is just fine, be it from bread & butter pickles or kosher dill.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; measuring spoons; wet measuring cup; cast iron skillet plus a lid; wooden spoon; tongs
5-6 chicken breasts
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¼ cup pickle juice
½ cup chicken stock
6 sprigs of thyme
3 peaches, stones removed, cut into sixths 2 balls of burrata, cut/torn into clumps kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
basil and mint leaves for garnish
1. Pat dry the chicken breasts before seasoning generously with kosher salt and pepper on the skin side. Drizzle lightly with vegetable oil. Set aside.
2. After washing your hands, set a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the seasoned chicken pieces skin-side down. Do not move the chicken pieces while the skin crisps and browns for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile season the flesh side with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the chicken over so the browned skin side is now facing up and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes more.
3. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and set aside. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the cast iron skillet and return the pan to the heat. Add the diced onion and minced ginger to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until softened.
4. Deglaze the pan with the pickling juice and chicken stock, and add the thyme sprigs. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate the fond on the bottom of the pan into the sauce.
5. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, skin-side up. Arrange the peach slices in the pan where there are pockets of space.
6. Once the sauce is bubbling, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes.
7. Lift the lid and carefully remove the chicken and peaches from the pan and set aside. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Raise the heat to medium high and reduce the pan sauce until it has thickened slightly and has a glossy sheen.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and taste the sauce. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
9. Return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin-side down to coat the the skin in the sauce. Now turn the chicken skin-side-up and return the peaches to the pan. Tuck in pieces of burrata wherever there is space Warm over medium-low heat, covered, for approximately two minutes to warm and slightly melt the cheese.
10. Serve immediately with basil and mint leaves.
Makes 4 servings.