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Dec 11, 2010 02:01 PM

Soggy skin on braised chicken

I think I've only made a braised chicken dish once and I have a question about the skin. I could make a meal out of crispy chicken skin, but of course after braising, the skin is anything but. I remember eating the skin and it was kind of flabby and gross. So my question is, are you supposed to eat the skin or remove it from the chicken? On the cooking show I'm watching now, the cook is eating the skin. I know there is no rule on how to eat, just want to know the general consensus. Thanks.

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  1. Here's what I do to avoid this problem- I pan fry the chicken, skin down until mostly cooked and skin is crispy. Remove, prepare the rest of the dish, depending on whether you have other vegetables, etc. Let it braise in the oven, etc.

    Later...., place the chicken, skin side up atop the other items in the braise, and let chicken cook the rest of the way through, while the skin isn't in the liquid. I do the same with chicken thighs in dishes like Paella. Works fine, and the chick picks up the flavors of the braise, and the skin stays crisp.

    But I digress. My general rule is- don't eat things that you don't enjoy. If you end up with soggy skin and you dont' like it- don't eat it :D

    1. Cheesemonger -- sounds like your method works great. Another idea is to broil the chicken for just a short bit at the very end to crisp the skin. Thomas Keller does this in his Ad Hoc book with a recipe for braised chicken thighes. He says broil for 1 - 2 minutes. We've adapted this idea to finish asian braised chicken thighes from the All About Braising book.

      2 Replies
      1. re: karykat

        +1. Broiling for just a few minutes will crisp and re-brown the skin without further cooking the meat.

        1. re: karykat

          +2 for broiling (or a quick sear in a clean pan) at the end.

        2. Thanks for the suggestions. I hate to waste good crispy skin. I just have to wonder I'd the people on cooking shows really eat their chicken like that or do they actually crisp up their skin when they are cooking at home.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dmjordan

            Poultry skin is favored crispy by some, others like it soft and chewy and some won't even touch in in any case. Can't tell you why. Just what I've found over the years that there are different strokes for different folks. While I typically serve it boned and without skin, I've served it "bone in" and had some complain about that too. Looks like you only win if you're lucky.

          2. Often in Indian and Chinese cooking, the skin is removed before marinating or cooking. One reason is to flavor the meat better.

            A variation is to remove the skin, but then include in the braise. That way it can contribute flavor and gelatin to the cooking liquid, but does not get in the way of eating the chicken meat. Or simmer it with scraps (neck, backs, wing tips) an hour or two before, use the resulting broth in the braise.

            1. i actually like it both ways - the skin was crispy to begin with, from the initial searing, so it still has a lot of good flavor, even though it's softened up from the braise. it's when skin has just been allowed to boil or cook without any initial caramelization that it feels soggy and gross in your mouth. but yes, i do prefer crispy, so really love the idea of broiling afterward.