The easiest way to cook any cut of chicken to create a fork-tender texture with crispy skin.
Today I want to introduce an amazing chicken dish that was created by my dear reader Saint Phlip. Thank you, Saint Phlip, for sharing this wonderful recipe with me and letting me talk about it here!
The name of this recipe comes from a professor – Dr. Benson. While taking his biology course, Saint Phlip discovered that Dr Benson dislikes three things that she really likes – hot peppers, red wine, and garlic.
Seemed to me that those three ingredients might make the basis for a condiment, which didn’t work out, but I used the three to make a chicken dish, and, of course, named it after him. – Saint Phlip
I tried the recipe immediately, and not just because I love cooking chicken. The discovery of the dish seemed so playful and the method a bit unorthodox. Isn’t that the best way to create a truly delicious recipe?
According to the original recipe, you only need five things to cook this perfect chicken dish – chicken, hot peppers, red wine, garlic, and the spice mix of your choice.
The cooking time and temperature are flexible, depending on how many people you’re cooking for. Whether making dinner for two or serving a banquet, you’re prepared for all sorts of occasions with this recipe. You can choose any cut of skin-on chicken, and the prep couldn’t be simplier. Look at the image below and you’ll understand what I mean.
Chicken comes out fork tender, with really crispy skin. – Saint Phlip
The outcome of the recipe was amazing. The chicken was indeed fork tender and the skin very crispy. The chicken had a better flavor and a fruity aroma due to the red wine.
The leftover pan juice didn’t taste like wine at all because the alcohol had evaporated and the broth was infused with delicious chicken juice. We made a one-minute gravy from it, by blending in some potato starch. To my big surprise, the gravy tasted exactly like KFC mashed potato gravy! Growing up, it was my favorite.
That’s it! I don’t need to persuade anyone to try this recipe. The recipe speaks for itself.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it #omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Chicken à la Benson
- 8 bone-in skin-on thighs (or any skin-on chicken pieces, enough for however many you're feeding)
- 1/4 cup salt for brining the chicken
- One head garlic , peeled, large cloves halved
- 1 to 3 hot peppers of your choice , chopped (seeds removed for less heat)
- 2 slices bacon, chopped (Optional)
- 1 cup red wine the amount will vary depending on your taste and the size of your baking pan
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water) (*see footnote 1) (Optional)
- Mixed curry powder (or your choice of spice blend) (*see footnote 2)
- Potato starch to make gravy (Optional)
- In a 5-quart pot, add salt and enough hot water to dissolve the salt. Mix until the salt is fully dissolved. Add ice to cool the water to well below room temperature. Add chicken and brine for 30 minutes. This process will remove blood and any unpleasant flavor from the chicken, thus enhancing its taste.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Line a big baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning).
- Scatter the garlic, pepper, and bacon pieces across the bottom, evenly.
- Place the chicken in the pan, touching gently or isolated (not jammed together), skin side up.
- Pour red wine over the chicken and add chicken stock, until the liquid is halfway up the sides of the chicken. (Footnote 3)
- Scatter curry powder (or your favorite spice blend on the chicken). Pat gently to make sure the entire surface is covered with the spice. (Footnote 4)
- Bake at 180 degrees C (350 F) until the internal temperature registers 74 degrees C (165 F), or until the juice runs clear. It should take about 45 minutes or so, and up to an hour and half (*see footnote 5).
(Optional) Make gravy
- Transfer the leftover juices from the baking tray to a skillet. Heat over low heat. Dissolve about 2 tablespoons potato starch in 1/4 cup water. Slowly add the starch slurry into the skillet, a tablespoon at a time. Whisk constantly, until the broth thickens. If the broth is still too thin, make and add more slurry. If the oil separates from the gravy, add an ice cube into the gravy and mix again.
- Serve the chicken warm with your preferred sides. If you’ve made the gravy, you can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or baked vegetables.
- You can use straight red wine (no chicken stock) in this recipe, if you like a stronger flavor. I used 1 cup red wine and 1 cup chicken stock. The dish came out very well-balanced, with a nice fruity aroma, without tasting alcoholic at all.
- I used half Madras curry powder and half Garam masala powder, because the curry seasoning goes very well with red wine.
- Alternatively, you can pour red wine over everything, until it's about halfway up the sides of the chicken. (This is the instruction from the original recipe)
- No salt needed - the wine adds enough tannins and nitrates that it feels like salt is in there.
- I didn’t watch the actual temperature in the oven, so I ended up needing an hour to get the chicken skin crisp. You can also keep the chicken in the oven longer if you’re unsure when you’ll be serving the dish.