Spicy Chicken Scratching.
I’m disgusting. There is no other word that comes to mind quicker when I think of a descriptive word for my appetite, other than disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an adjective I scoff at or am ashamed of, but ultimately I do have a disgusting appetite. There are no food groups I ostracise and there is no plate I would question on offer. You offer it, I’ll try it. This delicious snack here is testament to this.
I recall having an ex-partner a few years back really question our relationship when I managed to throw back handfuls of pork scratching without care in a pub in East London. What seemed so casually normal to me was apparently dubious to everybody else however I have a very strong stomach and a very unapologetic appetite and when something tastes so good, I see no reason to pass the chance to taste it. Which brings me to my Chicken Scratchings.
This recipe came as a result of an accident really. I was making some buttermilk chicken where I like to soak my skinless chicken cuts overnight. So after removing the chicken skin and tossing them on a plate ready to bin, I suddenly had a frugal thought. Often times I throw chicken skins in the pan in which I’m roasting a chicken to extract extra juices for gravy but what I am then left with is a gnarled up crunchy crisp that goes straight in the bin. I realised that if I cooked them stretched out and seasoned, I may be left with what could be a delicious, crispy crackling snack.
And that’s exactly what this is. Do not be put off by the lone idea of this and see it for what it genuinely is – it’s just crackling.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Take a few chicken skins – I usually have about four, but use however much you have. Grab a roasting dish that comes equipped with a wire rack but if not, grab any old roasting tin and place a wire rack within it (a rack you would usually use for cooling baked treats). Spread the chicken skins across the rack, stretching them as much as you can (but not to the point of ripping).
Sprinkle over the chicken skins seasoning of your choice, however I like mine spicy and salty so I chose cayenne pepper, paprika and lots of sea salt. Slide them in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the skins have hardened and look like burnished crisps. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before smashing up into smaller bite size chunks.
Spicy, salty and mouth wateringly more-ish crackling that is easily achievable from leftovers. It guarantees a bar snack to snatch at when you’re feeling slightly peckish or if you just want to freak out your partner with your ambitious appetite. Or disgusting, your choice – either way, these are shamelessly delicious. Judge if you will.