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I have a go-to chicken dish that I like a lot. I marinate thighs in a soy based marinade and then brown them. Then I mix the marinade flavors, chicken broth and rice and put the thighs in skin side down, cover, and cook over medium-low heat until the rice is nearly done. With 10 minutes or so left to go, I turn the thighs skin side up, lay them on top and finish cooking, uncovered, until the rice is done.

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I like the skin done this way. I start the browning in a cold pan which really renders the fat nicely (you can see the fat in the first picture, I added no oil), but I know that a lot of people only like chicken skin crispy. The skin here isn't flabby, but it isn't crispy either. Does anyone have a good trick for crisping chicken skin that is already fully cooked by braising?

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    I'm not sure if you need a trick or a miracle, I'm not sure it's possible to do. Have you tried a broiler for 2-3 minutes? Or a hand-held torch? – GdD Jul 18 '14 at 8:02
  • @GdD I have not tried the torch. I'll give that a whirl. I have tried broiling, that isn't successful. The very top burns before the rest gets crispy. – Jolenealaska Jul 18 '14 at 11:24
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    It'll be interesting to see how you get on with that. My instinct says it's not going to work as there's too much water. You could take the skin off and put it in a 400 degree oven for a bit to dry and crisp it up, that's a lot of extra work though. – GdD Jul 18 '14 at 11:28
  • @GdD : I was thinking the same thing ... for that last 10 min of cooking, strip the skin off, set it on a sheet tray w/ a wire rack, and roast it to make a sort of crackling. I don't know how much time it'd take, as you've already rendered off some of the fat, but added moisture. – Joe Jul 18 '14 at 16:14
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    Why not strip the skin off the chicken before you cook it? You can then make chicken crackling, which is yuuuuummmy! – GdD Jul 18 '14 at 16:36
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As some of the commenters have noted, this just might not be possible. Water is the enemy of crispy, and unfortunately for your chicken skin braising is all about moist heat. I would try searing the skin before braising, if you don't already, in order to get some of the fat rendered out and the Maillard reaction on it's way. Braise as you would, but remove the chicken five minutes before it hits doneness and place the thighs on wire rack. Put the thighs under a screaming hot broiler until, god willing, they're crispy. A torch or the searzall could also do the trick.

  • That actually works, sort of. I do sear the skin prior to braising, putting it under the broiler at the end helps. Using a torch in addition to that helps even more, but probably more of a pain than it is worth. – Jolenealaska Aug 11 '14 at 4:55

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