What do you do about the skin when you are braising chicken?

I know most recipes call for browning and crisping the chicken skin first before the low/slow aspect. But the skin always seems to get pretty flabby during the braise. Could I broil the chicken to finish? Would I end up with dry meat?

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HalfPint
HalfPint February 26, 2014

I never understand recipes that call for crisping chicken skin only to make it flabby when the chicken gets braised. I would brown for color and flavor. I'm a bit weird in that I like the skin on the chicken after a braise. The skin just melts in your mouth. My suggestion is to not broil to crisp up the skin. I don't think it will work and you could possibly dry out the meat. Or you can just remove the skin before serving.

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Cristina Sciarra
Cristina Sciarra February 26, 2014

It is my understanding that you brown the chicken skin in a braise for the fond (those lovely brown bits of concentrated flavor). The skin also helps to insulate and flavor the chicken as it cooks.

I am not sure broiling at the end would do much good--those flabby bits of skin are quite moisture-logged, and by the time the broiler made them crispy, I think you will have dried out your chicken. However, if using chicken thighs for example, why not portion the braising liquid so that the chicken skin cooks above the liquid and in contact with the dry heat of the oven? Best of both worlds.

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Declan
Declan February 27, 2014

I'd remove the skin prior to braising. Crisp it seperatly in the oven, or over heat, and garnish you braised chicken with it.
Don't forget to season it well, to compliment what's in your braising liquid.

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN March 1, 2014

declan, you are one dangerous dude! On another question, you rec baking a chicken until the leg twists 360 degrees around (yes, it certainly would have passed 'Done' at that point.) And now you want to remove the chicken skin before you braise the chicken??? I guarantee you a dry product if you first remove that very important layer of protective and self-basting skin.
(Gee declan, i had heard that the Brits and Celts had really learned to cook in the last 30 years, but now you got me wonderin' ;-) ) [ just jokin' ya in this last sentence.]

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Declan
Declan March 11, 2014

Thinking ... Beautifully braised , flavored, chicken ...with a twist!
Make it a garnish. Get the fat component out of the braise ...

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Declan
Declan March 11, 2014

"Braise, by definition" implies liquid environment.

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paseo
paseo March 11, 2014

I braise a whole chicken at 275' for hours in a covered, oval cast iron oven and have done it both with and w/o skin (cook it for crispy bits). In the covered environment it has not made a difference in the flavor or texture of the meat, which we like for it's succulence.

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Pegeen
Pegeen March 11, 2014

In a discussion thread here a while ago, a few people mentioned that when braising, they start breast-side down for 2/3 of the cooking time then flip it to breast-side up for the final 1/3 of the cooking time so that the top has a chance to brown without drying out the breast.

As cristinacciarra mentions above, another option is to keep the liquid levels so that the chicken does not become a submarine. ;-) Depending on the recipe you could keep about 1/2 to 2/3 of the bird above the braising liquid. You could also use a bed of vegetables to lift the bird instead of a metal rack.

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