Making “Crusty Chicken” With Jacques Pepin! My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge Honors This Master Chef’s Obsession With The Bird!

Making A Legendary Chef’s “Crusty Chicken!”

We are in the last weeks of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, so I am honoring some of the most legendary Chefs of all time!

Well, it wasn’t really a battle – Jacques Pepin and Julia Child were great friends, and I will be cooking from both of their great cookbooks over the next week…beginning with Chef Pepin, who has a new memoir out!

As the Washington Post reported recently:

“Pépin turns 87 in December. He is among the last of the first wave of culinary legends who became household names — Julia Child, Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey. For four decades, he’s been a constant in many American kitchens. Pépin democratized formal technique. He instructed legions of American professional and home chefs, not in a constellation of exorbitant white-cloth restaurants but through cookbooks, and hosting 13 separate public television series.”

The Chef’s memoir is riveting, with stories about cooking for President Kennedy, and much much more – and now he has a new book out:

This Chef Is A Chicken Fanatic!

Yes, Pepin loved chicken – so that’s what we are going to make!

He writes in the book:

“If you asked me to choose a single ingredient that I could not do without, it would likely be the egg.”

And that leads to a chicken dish that had one home cook proclaim:

“I nearly lost it when I watched Jacques Pepin cook chicken thighs in a non-stick skillet with absolutely no fat!”

So that’s what we are about to do as well!

Chef Jacques Pepin’s Crusty Chicken With Mushrooms!

Here are the ingredients needed to make Chef’s terrific “Crusty Chicken with Mushroom” – a delicious dish for 4 people!

4 large chicken thighs, about 1 3/4 pounds total, skin on

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup diced onion

1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic

3 cups washed and diced white mushrooms or cremini mushrooms

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or green portion of green onion

To get a jump ahead, dice your mushrooms, as well as your garlic and onion before you start to have them ready to go – then, let’s prepare the chicken:

Score the chicken skin – 1/2 inch thick slash on either side of the thigh bone. Season the thighs on both sides with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the chicken thighs skin-side down on non-stick skillet. Listen for the skin to begin to sing to you – that’s right a nice sizzle!

Only then turn the heat to medium-high. As you see, there is no oil added – the glistening fat in the pan is from the skin! Listen to the dish cook here:

When the chicken starts to sizzle, turn the heat to medium and move the thighs around to make sure they aren’t sticking to the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook for 16 to 18 minutes. Check the chicken occasionally to keep it from sticking. If the skin is browning too much after 10 minutes, then turn the heat to low. When done, transfer the thighs to a warm oven.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat in the skillet. Turn the heat to high and then add the chopped onion, garlic, and mushrooms. 

Sauté, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the remaining salt and pepper. 

Then, it’s time for a drink! Pour yourself a glass of wine and pour a third of a cup into the pan. Continue to cook for one minute over high heat until the sauce reduces.

The recipe says to spoon some of the cooked mushrooms and sauce onto a plate and top with one of the chicken thighs. Add your diced chives and the dish is ready to go.

Here’s how I attempted that:

OK, I didn’t expect the mushroom mold to completely hold together but it did make for a better shape than if I had tried to plate it with a spoon. Still, I liked the look of the finished dish:

Two things to say about this dish: the chicken is moist, and the crispy top is a nice crunchy addition to the flavorful meat…and the mushrooms are, as always, delicious – because how can you mess up sautéed mushrooms with garlic, onion and wine?

Chef recommends serving with roasted Brussel Sprouts, but you can also have grilled Asparagus or even roasted Broccoli – any green vegetable with a bit of a crust on it as well!

I showed you a photo of Pepin with his great friend Julia Child…did you know I saw her actual kitchen?

The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. has her kitchen re-built to show you the actual space she created in – fascinating!

See a tour by clicking on my story here:

Only a few more weeks to go in 2022, and I will soon be sharing a classic Julia Child dish you can make for your holiday feast.

I’ve cooked food from some of the world’s greatest Chefs:

This “Sous Vide Lobster” dish is from Chef Thomas Keller’s “French Laundry” cookbook – and it took three days to make!

Click here to see why!

I am finishing up my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, but will be ending on a high note with one of the world’s legendary Chefs AND a wild dish I’ve never made before!

No, it’s not the “Duck Pancetta and Mustard Pie” I made earlier in the year, but that’s a classic as well – click here for that recipe:

And I also loved making this classic dish from Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant:

This fish was cooked in olive oil – click here for this amazing dish!

Acclaimed Chef / Writer Michael Ruhlman worked with Chef Keller on many of his cookbooks, and I cooked with Ruhlman as well:

This “Crispy Mollet Egg With Asparagus Sauce” is a terrific dish from Ruhlman, and you can see how I almost botched the whole thing by clicking on the recipe here:

Ruhlman was one of the judges on my PBS cooking competition “Cooking Under Fire”:

I made the “Pulled Pork Pasta With Almond Cream Sauce” from the cookbook and it was delicious – see it here:

This was week #36 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, so much more to come!

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Categories: 52 In 22!, Bite Eat Swallow, Bite! Eat! Repeat!, Chef memoirs, Cookbooks, Eat This!, Fine Dining, Food, Food Pictures, Food Porn, Food Writing, Recipes, Wacky Food, World's Wildest Food

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2 replies

  1. All my favourite ingredients in a delicious dish..nice one john 🙂

  2. I love mushrooms and I love chicken with crispy skin. A great recipe!

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