When my husband and I discussed moving to Mexico almost 10 years ago, I was afraid. We had two small children and although I always enjoyed trying new things and having adventures, I wasn’t ready to sell everything and
live in a van down by the river drive down in a van to live on the beach.
We picked Playa del Carmen for a few reasons, one of them being that a very good friend of ours had been living here for a few years. She came down as a single girl to do volunteer work, met a blond Texan, got married and stayed. I figured if I had someone who was willing to help me out when I needed it, someone that I didn’t feel bad pestering constantly, it would help make the transition easier.
Boy, was I right.
Those first few days, weeks, months, were overwhelming. I learned that we don’t realize how many things we do without thinking. We know where everything is at the grocery store, and if we don’t, we know how to ask. I came here not knowing any words for food in Spanish, and stood in the grocery stores not even knowing what to ask for. I would often just yell to my friend “What’s the word for bacon?” “Tocino”, I would hear, from two aisles away. She must have answered a million questions those first few months. And if she didn’t have the answer, she directed me towards people who did.
I don’t know how I would have survived without her help. I was glad to know that I could repay my gratitude in food and she was happy to accept. This trade-off worked well between the two of us, and continues to down to this day. Although it is a little more difficult because she
deserted me moved to Guatemala a few years ago,, but when we visit, I still need to feed her. It actually brings me joy.
Her and her husband were regular fixtures in our home. They only lived a few blocks away for a few years, and would regularly drop by for a visit, a swim, or a snack. One time I answered the door and her husband was there. My husband and I weren’t expecting him and asked what’s up. “I’m here to play Nerf with (our son) Jake”. Yup, they were family.
One night they were over and it was the usual affair: I was making dinner and she was telling a story. She is a master story teller. She makes normal, daily events sound like an adventure beyond proportions. I was trying something new that night, frying up these chicken thighs on the stove. My girlfriend is relating some story and I couldn’t hear her very well with sizzling chicken on the stove. Finally, she says with exaggerated irritation, ‘well if you would finish cooking that noisy chicken, maybe you could hear the story.’
And that is why this is called Noisy Chicken.
It’s probably the easiest thing you’ll make and yet surprisingly fantastic. If you have a cast iron pan it’s a one pan meal. If not, just move the thighs from the skillet to a glass pan and continue cooking it that way. Although the skin won’t be as crispy as if it stays in the cast iron skillet.
**I’m not going to lie here … lately I have been too lazy to even transfer it to the oven. I watch the heat on the stove that it’s not burning hot and sizzle that chicken until nice and crispy and golden. You can see from the pic that my stove cooks a little uneven as some pieces are darker than others. I cook skin side down for a good 12-15 minutes and then flip them over for about another 8 minutes just until they are cooked through. Why am I this lazy? It’s more like I hate turning the oven on in 40 degree weather.
Make it tonight. But don’t expect to hear what anybody around you is trying to say. They’ll just have to wait to tell their story. But if it’s your kids and you’ve heard the story before, this may be your saving grace.
- 8 skin-on chicken thighs
- about 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken skin side down in skillet, fry for about 12-15 minutes. Rotate chicken around the pan about halfway through cooking time but do NOT turn over. Transfer skillet to oven that’s been preheated to 450 degrees and cook another 12 minutes with the skin side remaining down. Flip chicken and continue cooking until meat is cooked through, about another 5 minutes longer. Transfer to plate, let rest for five minutes before serving.
**see note above