Will you think weird things about me if I spend most of the next 3 paragraphs writing about chicken skin?
It’s a love-hate, although right now I’m more on the love side. I guess the only thing I really hate is the name: chicken skin. But if you feed me something that is golden like the sun, mysteriously both juicy and crispy at the same time, and full of coconut lime chicken flavor and tell me it’s chicken skin? Then I do love chicken skin after all.
There’s no glamorous way to put it: I ate a lot of fried chicken this year.
Like, honestly, more fried chicken in our one year in the Philippines than probably all the rest of my life put together. Filipinos have a way with frying, and chicken is no exception. On a scale of 1-10, I started the year out liking Filipino spicy fried chicken at a 2, and ended the year liking it at a 9.9. When you fry chicken with all that breading on the outside, and especially when it’s spicy chicken so the breading is not only crunchy-heaven but also a wave of your tastebuds mildly on fire, crispy hot chicken skin quickly becomes way more important than the chicken meat itself. It just does.
I know, I’m off topic. This coconut lime chicken isn’t even fried. It isn’t spicy. It’s just simple and delicious and full of garlic, ginger, and coconut lime flavor. And whenever I say coconut lime I envision a coconut lime verbena scented wallflower, which I could drink right now.
So to make the chicken, you have to act really fancy. NOT.
You marinate it and you roast it in the oven. Tadaaa!
Here’s a tip: your life will be better if you have a wire rack because then your chicken doesn’t sit in the grease of the pan and splatter all over the oven. I know this because sometimes food bloggers don’t have things like wire racks so they plow through recipes without the proper equipment, just for a gorgeous bite of crispy-golden coconut lime chicken skin. Even when it means breaking the chicken roasting rules and sitting in the smoky haze of a messy chicken roasted kitchen all afternoon. It worked, but it would have worked better with a wire rack.
At this time I’d like to call out my readers who only ever buy chicken breasts. Yes, you. I’m squinting through the screen at you right now. And I’d like to let you know that I am one of you. I rarely buy any chicken (I’m talking present tense here) other than chicken breasts because, let’s face it. It seems hard and gross and why would anyone ever need to eat anything besides crunchy, saucy little bites of General Tso’s white meat?
Chicken pieces, with bones, with skin, are not as scary as they seem. Buy them in a package, you don’t have to cut anything up (you chicken cutter-uppers are a whole different breed), and the meat is truly delicious. It’s oh-so-juicy because it actually has, like, some fat on it.
And the skin. This coconut lime chicken was always about that crispy chicken skin.
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons lime zest
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 can light coconut milk
- salt to taste
- 3 lbs. chicken pieces with bones and skin (for example, 1½ lbs. drumsticks and 1½ lbs. thighs)
- rice noodles, cilantro, carrots, lime wedges, peanuts, onions or shallots for serving
- Prep the chicken: Whisk the lime juice, lime zest, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and coconut in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I had to divide the ingredients into 2 bowls so it could all fit. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade; let them rest on a plate for a minute to get rid of excess moisture.
- Roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 475. Grease a rimmed baking sheet. The rim will keep most of the drippings from landing in your oven. Arrange the chicken pieces on the baking sheet; bake for 30 minutes. (If you have a wire rack, place it on the baking sheet and arrange the chicken on the wire rack. This allows the fat to drip off the chicken as it roasts and keeps it from getting too greasy.) Check on the chicken every so often, turning the pan or adjusting the heat if the skin is getting too brown. Remove from the oven when the chicken is browned on the outside and cooked through to the middle.
- Sprinkle the hot chicken with a little extra salt and serve with rice noodles, fresh cilantro, carrots, peanuts, and drizzle lime juice over the whole thing.
Hey wait. I never told you about serving your chicken with a heaping pile of hot rice noodles and all those fresh, crunchy veggies. And the lime juice. And salted, roasted peanuts. And feeling like it’s a party on a plate. Wehhhh! I always have way too much to say about food.