I’ve never been much of a popcorn fan. Even without that bright yellow fake butter poured over it, it’s still suspiciously sweet for my taste and those bags of sugar coated stuff don’t do it for me at all.
However, popcorn is a good source of fiber so when I came across this recipe in Nigel Slater’s wonderful book ‘eat’, my eyes almost popped out of my head – and I had to share it.
For starters, the idea of creating melt-in-the-mouth, whisper thin chicken skin crackling was a revelation – and I’m kicking myself at the thought of all the chicken skin I’ve discarded over the years.
In this recipe, the combination of melted real butter, fresh rosemary and crispy chicken skin is absolutely incredible and it doesn’t take long to make, especially if you buy microwaveable popcorn (the unflavored plain variety).
I used Orville Redenbacher’s ‘Simply Salted’ which only contains 2% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium per popped cup. But you’ll want to eat considerably more than that and frankly, popcorn needs salt but be careful not to overdo it as you’ll be salting the chicken skin.
If you’d rather pop it yourself in a heavy pan or special machine, buy loose kernels that come with instructions.
I served this as a pre-dinner snack for a dozen people recently and I’ve never seen anything devoured so quickly, with greedy guests cramming fistfuls into their mouths (Probably why Nigel Slater refers to his recipe as ‘scandalous’).
For vegetarian, here’s a link to another fast & fabulous popcorn recipe – Truffle Parmesan Popcorn.
NIGEL SLATER’S CHICKEN SKIN POPCORN
(Enough for 4)
The skin from 4 good sized chicken thighs
3 oz (80g) of unsalted butter
5-6 oz (150g) weight of popping corn (approx 2 microwaveable bags)
1 heaped tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Sea salt to taste
Heat the oven to 350F (180C). Lay the chicken skin pieces flat on a roasting tray and sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes or until they’re golden and crispy. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper kitchen towel to drain and fully crisp up. Crumble them into bite sized pieces.
Gently melt the butter with the rosemary (don’t allow it to brown). Use about 1/3 of the butter to pop the corn with if you’re making it yourself using loose corn kernels (following instructions on the jar), otherwise microwave the corn following the packet instructions – about 2 minutes.
Tip the popped corn into a large bowl, drizzle the melted rosemary butter all over it along with extra sea salt if you like – top it off with crumbled pieces of crispy chicken skin.
Popcorn this good doesn’t hang around for long, so you might want to make an extra batch.