Inside The Dish: Vinegar Hill House’s Cast Iron Chicken

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Here at Taste The Style, we love chicken. Whether it’s crispy, grilled, or down-right breaded, we can’t get enough of it. But sometimes, it’s normal to get sick of the poultry. At home, you always end up cooking the same thing because it’s easy and your mind can’t rationalize the fact of thinking up something new after a long day of work. When you actually try and think of a recipe to help you get inspired, your mind wonders off to your favorite restaurant with that exceptionally good meal that you fell in love with, and soon, without even realizing it, you’re accidentally drooling all over your kitchen floors.

For this edition of Inside The Dish, we bring you that exceptionally good meal that will give you all kind of feels. Vinegar Hill House is a staple in Brooklyn with a no BS menu — and their Cast Iron Chicken is one of those dishes that you swore your mother made and will bring tears to your eyes. Executive Chef Mike Poirakoff, who took over Vinegar Hill House’s kitchen over a year ago, knows that simplicity is key when it comes to creating meals. But don’t worry — this dish is nothing close to basic. The crispy chicken exterior covered in a delectable brine, which is then surrounded by shallots, will make your taste buds thank you over and over again.

If you are feeling a little dull in the kitchen and need to bring your chicken skills back to life, give Executive Chef Mike Poirakoff’s recipe a try below.


what you'll need

A cast iron skillet. This is a must.

And kudos if you have a wood-burning oven. If not, a regular ole’ oven will do

1 Whole chicken (2-3 lbs deboned and scraps)

1 Whole shallot

White wine (for the shallots and a little for you)

For Brine: 

2 qt Hot water

100g Salt

50g Sugar

For Stock:

1 Carrot (chopped)

2 Rib celery (chopped)

1 Onion (chopped)

3 Springs of thyme

3 Cloves fresh garlic (smashed)

2 tbsp Sherry vinegar

1 tbsp Salt

2 tbsp Butter

2 Springs thyme for garnish

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda


what to do

CREATE THE BRINE

1. Dissolve salt and sugar in water and chill until cold.


CUT THE CHICKEN

1. With breast facing up, cut a line down each side on the breast bone until the knife reaches the breast plate.

2. At the top of the breast plate, with knife against the wish bone, cut down until you reach the wing. And cut though the wing and the wish bone.

3. Keeping your knife tip under the breast, and against the breast plate, free each breast from the cage.

4. Staying against the backbone, bring your knife down the chicken and free the thigh from the cage.

5. Cut a straight line down the backbone and pull each side of the chicken free. Leaving the breast connected to the thigh.


COVER CHICKEN WITH BRINE

1. Cover both chicken halves with the chilled brine and refrigerate for 3 hours.

2. After three hours, rinse off and pat dry.

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda


CREATE STOCK AND COOK IN OVEN

1. Peel and Roast whole shallot at a low temp (start first while you’re cooking the stock).

2. Roasted in a small pan with sherry vinegar, white wine, thyme, and some olive oil at 275 degrees covered in foil for 3 hours. Cook simultaneously with the chicken because it takes around the same time.  

3. During that time, place all bones and scraps on a sheet trap with a wire rack, and roast at 350 degrees, until golden brown for 20 minutes.

4. Place the scraps and bones in a pot with vegetables, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 3 hours.

5. After 3 hours, strain out all vegetables and bones from stock (discard).

6. On medium-high heat, reduce stock to about a 1/2 cup, or until jus begins to thicken and darken a bit.

7. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and place breast and thigh of chicken, skin-side up, in a medium cast-iron pan and bake in oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn oven up to 450 degrees and let cook until skin is browned, about 4-7 minutes.

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda


REMOVE FROM OVEN AND GARNISH

1. Remove from oven and pour reduced stock into pan.

2. Add 2 tbsp of cold butter and sherry vinegar, then stir until dissolved.

3. Garnish with thyme spring for 30 seconds to give it a nice aroma.

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda

Photo Cred: Vanessa Granda


If you are tired of looking at your kitchen (or let’s be real, you’re too lazy to clean your dishes) and want to venture out, give this dish a taste at Vinegar Hill House located at 72 Hudson Ave., Brooklyn


raven ishak

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