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Season 17, Episode 3 Recap: Crispy Chicken Breasts and Fluffy Baked Potatoes
When it comes to cooking chicken breasts, it’s best to let the skin and bones do all the work.
01-23-2017
America's Test Kitchen

Julia opens the episode with a joke: “So there’s a guy sitting in a movie theater, and he looks next to him and he sees a chicken. And he looks at the chicken, and he says, ‘Are you a chicken?’ And the chicken says, ‘Why yes, yes I am.’ And then he says, ‘What are you doing here?’ And the chicken says, ‘Well, I liked the book.’” Bridget laughs, but responds with, “OK, that is one of the worst chicken jokes I have ever heard.” The two move on from the bad poultry humor and make a delicious recipe for Roasted Bone-In Chicken Breasts. Later, Adam reviews trash cans, and Elle demonstrates how to cook the best baked potatoes.


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America's Test Kitchen TV "Back to Basics"

Host Bridget Lancaster shows host Julia Collin Davison how to make the ultimate Roasted Bone-In Chicken Breasts. Next, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews kitchen trash cans in the Equipment Corner. Finally, test cook Elle Simone reveals the secrets to making the Best Baked Potatoes.

 

Five Takeaways from the Episode

1. Think Again Before Buying Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: For one thing, they’re more expensive than bone-in, skin on chicken breasts—and they’re also far less flavorful.

2. When Cooking Skin-On Chicken, You’ll Want the Fat Beneath the Skin to Render in Order to Get Shatteringly Crispy Skin: The best way to do this is to give the chicken skin a few pokes with a skewer. “Five or six—even seven if you’re feeling jaunty,” says Bridget.

3. Gone Are the Days of the Simple Trash Can: Nowadays, you can spend up to $200 on a trash can. But are more expensive models really worth their price tag? Adam thinks so. Our winning trash can [Buy Now on Amazon] from Simplehuman has a foot pedal that flips the lid open completely and allows it to close slowly. Adam also liked its sleek and spacious frame. We admit that at $180, it’s a bit of an investment for a trash can. But we assure you: It’s the absolute Cadillac of trash cans.

4. Using a Microwave to Shortcut a Baked Potato is a No-No: Elle says, “Bridget, some crazy things are happening in the world with baked potatoes . . . and it has to stop.” One of those crazy things is that people are using microwaves to mimic the effect of a properly baked potato. While Elle and Bridget both admit to having committed this foul, they both agree that it’s not the best way to cook a potato. “It cooks unevenly, it cooks from the inside out,” says Elle. (Avoid wrapping your potatoes in foil before baking: The foil locks in all the moisture, and you wind up with a soggy potato. Yuck.)

5. Brine Your Potatoes Before You Bake Them: You read that correctly. Brining your potatoes—which in this instance consists of coating the skin in salty water before baking—will result in a flavorful interior and a crispy exterior. Poke holes in your potatoes before you brine them. “Flavor’s gonna seep in, steam’s gonna seep out,” says Elle.

Quote of the Week: “Oscar the Grouch and Adam have one thing in common, and that is they both have strong opinions about trash cans.” -Julia Collin Davison


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