• Chicken
    • cups kosher salt or 3/4 cup table salt
    • 1 chicken (31/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks, wings discarded) and trimmed of excess fat
    • Ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Shallot and Vermouth Sauce
    • 1 large shallot, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
    • ¾ cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
    • ½ cup dry vermouth
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
    • Salt and ground black pepper


1. Dissolve salt in 21/2 quarts cold tap water in large container or bowl; submerge chicken pieces in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken pieces under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season chicken with pepper.
2. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke, about 3 minutes; swirl skillet to coat evenly with oil. Brown chicken pieces skin-side down until deep golden, about 5 minutes; turn chicken pieces, and brown until golden on second side, about 4 minutes longer. Turn chicken skin-side down and place skillet in oven. Roast until juices run clear when chicken is cut with paring knife, or thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and thickest part of thighs and drumsticks registers about 175 degrees, about 10 minutes longer. Using potholder or oven mitt to protect hands from hot skillet handle, remove pan from oven. Transfer chicken skin-side up to platter, and let rest while making sauce. (If not making sauce, let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.)
4. Still using potholder or oven mitt, pour off most of fat from skillet, add shallot, then set skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring frequently, until shallot softens, about 11/2 minutes. Add chicken broth, vermouth, and thyme; increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Pour accumulated chicken juices into skillet, discard thyme, and whisk in butter one piece at a time. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken pieces skin-side up to skillet; simmer to heat through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.


Brining the chicken is optional but highly recommended. If you opt not to brine, use a kosher chicken if one is available (kosher chickens are salted during processing and have the moistness and flavor of brined chickens). This recipe requires a 12-inch ovenproof skillet. The handle will be blisteringly hot after being in the oven, so be sure to use a potholder or oven mitt to remove the skillet from the oven and when handling the skillet as you make the sauce. Dry white wine may be substituted for the vermouth.



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Cook's Illustrated


4 servings