So what do you do with the leftover pickle juice? You’re not the only one who has asked that question. After all, it seems like such a waste to dump out a jar half full of spiced brine, especially when the pickles were so very delicious.
This recipe uses the leftover pickle juice from dill pickles. If you find it a little too strong at the end, add extra chicken broth to the pan sauce. It is also gluten-free AND it uses chicken thighs to be frugal! (You could make it with chicken breasts, you wastrel you, but don’t complain to me of the cost) From start to finish, plan for about an hour.
You’ll need a large skillet for this – 12″ across and deep enough to hold all the chicken thighs. This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people … or one hungry teenager. If you need to make larger amounts than that, you probably already know how to double or triple a recipe.
Start by mincing 3-4 garlic cloves and cooking them in 1 Tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat. (Hey, Marie, all I have is vegetable oil, what do I do? Use the vegetable oil, silly. Or a bit of lard if that’s what you have.) It won’t take long, maybe a minute or two.
Prepare 3 pounds chicken thighs by seasoning them with black pepper. I can’t tell you how much is right for you – do you like pepper or does a tiny dusting send you running for a glass of water. Season it ‘to taste’ … which doesn’t mean you should lick the raw chicken. It means you should know how much pepper you like.
Working in two batches so that you don’t cool down your skillet too much, place the chicken thighs in skin-side-down. Let them cook until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the pan. Flip and do the other side. You’re not trying to cook them all the way through – just nicely brown both sides. Remove that batch and repeat with another 1 Tablespoon olive oil and the second batch.
Put all the chicken back into the skillet and add 1/2 cup dill pickle juice and 1/2 cups chicken broth. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about half an hour, flip the chicken and continue cooking another half hour. The meat should be very tender.
While the chicken is cooking, you need another skillet to prepare the cauliflower ‘rice’. You could also definitely make regular rice!
Remove the tough leaves and stems from 1 medium cauliflower and wash it well. Grate it on a box grater or break it into florets and pulse in a food processor to create rice-sized pieces. Place these on paper towel or a clean cloth and press with another layer in order to remove as much moisture as possible.
Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a clean skillet and then add the cauliflower. Heat and stir for a minute or two on medium, then lower the heat, cover and steam for about five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the chicken to a serving dish, then add another 1/2 cup chicken broth to the first skillet and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the dark bits from the bottom. Keep cooking until the sauce has reduced to about half. Taste and season. If it’s too strong, as I said, add more chicken broth and simmer down again.
Serve chicken thighs over a bed of cauliflower rice and drizzle with pan sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.