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~Easy One-Skillet Barbecued Chicken-Thigh Paillards~

IMG_0256Next to Buffalo-style chicken anything, a big piece of juicy barbecued chicken, hot off the outdoor grill grids, slathered in a copious amount of semi-caramelized barbecue sauce is one of my favorite things.  There's more.  I like to take that seething hot piece of barbecued chicken and plop it atop a cold, crisp salad.  Yes, of course, the hot chicken semi-wilts some of those greens, but when I put a knife-and fork to this barbecued chicken salad meal, I can't stop eating.

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09c6f476970dA bit about paillard (PI-yahrd):  This fancy French word means "to pound", and, references a lightly-pounded portion-sized slice or medallion of meat, poultry or seafood that gets quickly sautéed. A paillard is not madly smashed to smithereens.  Pounding should make it wider and thinner, with the point being to pound it in a manner that makes it even in thickness --  to break down the fibers, to tenderize it, and, to make it cook evenly.  It's done with a flat-sided meat mallet, not a sharp, pyramid-toothed gadget guaranteed to pulverize.  To those who smack away using the back of a heavy skillet, while the bravado is amusing, it's less than affective, as you can't concentrate the necessary force directly on the places that need it to do a truly expert job.

The taste and texture of lightly-pounded paillards is an extra step well worth the effort. I find it to be a time-saver too.  The time it takes to pound six boneless skinless chicken thighs, including the time to get out a cutting board, the plastic wrap and a flat-sided meat mallet is about five minutes. Once done, cooking the paillards is considerably faster and easier, had I not taken the time.

Chicken-Thigh Paillards + Barbecue Sauce + Salad = Happy Me.

IMG_01961 1/4-1 1/2  cups K.C. Masterpiece original barbecue sauce, plus, additional barbecue sauce for dipping or drizzling at tableside

6-8  tablespoons water (3-4-ounces)

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09c74648970d6  large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Note:  This is approximately the equivalent of 3, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves that have been butterflied to form 6 pieces/portions.)

~ Step 1.  Place the thighs between two large layers of plastic wrap and lightly pound with the flat side of a meat mallet to a thickness of more than a 1/4" and less than 1/2".

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2ae80a4970c~ Step 2. Remove and discard the top layer of plastic wrap and lightly sprinkle the tops of paillards with:

freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

In a 16" electric skillet on low heat, heat:

6 tablespoons corn or peanut oil

Increase heat to medium- medium-high (240°-250°).

IMG_0180IMG_0180IMG_0184IMG_0184IMG_0190~Recap:  Cover a large cutting board with plastic wrap.  Unravel/unroll the chicken thighs and place them, flat and slightly apart, atop the plastic. Cover with a second sheet of plastic.  Using a flat-sided meat mallet, pound to a thickness of 1/4"-1/2".  Remove and discard top layer of plastic.  Season tops of paillards with sea salt and peppercorn blend.  

IMG_0214 IMG_0214 IMG_0222 IMG_0222 IMG_0233 IMG_0236 IMG_0240 IMG_0243 IMG_0243~Step 3.  Add the paillards to the hot oil in the skillet.  Sauté gently until light-golden in color on both sides, turning only once, about 7-8 minutes per side.  Add the barbecue sauce to the chicken in the skillet, followed by the water.  Quickly heat the barbecue sauce to bubbling, stirring in and around and under the paillards constantly for a moment or two to incorporate the sauce into the flavorful pan drippings.  Adjust the heat to a very gentle simmer (steady yet very gentle), and continue to simmer very gently, uncovered, about 20 more minutes.

Serve alongside or atop a generous helping of a nicely-dressed salad w/additional barbecue sauce for dipping or drizzling:

IMG_0253Easy One-Skillet Barbecued Chicken-Thigh Paillards:  Recipe yields 6 main-dish servings.

Special Equipment List:  large cutting board; plastic wrap; flat-sized meat mallet; 16" electric skillet w/lid; 1-cup measuring container; fork and/or spatula; large spoon

6a0120a8551282970b026bdebbeec1200cCook's Note: When my kids were little kids then teenagers, barbecue-sauced pork chops, served up atop a bed of my easy-to-make recipe for better than store-bought stovetop macaroni and cheese was one of their favorite weeknight meals.  No one needed to be called to the table twice on barbecued pork chop night, and, I didn't have to spend all afternoon cooking in order to reap the reward of their accolades.  All I had to do was brown the chops on both sides and then let them slow simmer in a mixture of barbecue sauce and water for about 30 minutes until fork tender.  One-skillet perfection.  Try my ~ Easiest One-Skillet Barbecued-Sauced Pork Chops ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021


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