For the first few months of this blog, I was pretty quiet about it at work. I told a few people, but didn’t want to make a big deal about it. A couple of months ago I was in a meeting, and my boss told some people about my blog. They couldn’t believe it, and went right to the site to see for themselves. One of the women was very impressed – it turns out her mother was a chef and she loves to cook – although she doesn’t have nearly as much time for that as she would like. I happened to be working on a project with her – and when it was done, she surprised me by buying me a subscription to Cooks Illustrated. I was completely blown away, and so honored.
Since the ending of Gourmet, I have definitely missed my trifecta every month (Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Cooking Light) – now I am back to having three magazines to create my menus for the month. This month Cook’s Illustrated did an article on the best way to cook chicken breasts. They wanted a chicken breast that was tender on the inside and browned nicely on the outside, without over or under cooking the chicken. I think they got it right. This technique worked like a charm – I did have the added hassle of cleaning an additional baking dish at the end, but I think it was worth it. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and had a nice brown crust around the outside – oh and the sauce, just marvelous! I served this with some mashed potatoes, and we were pouring the extra sauce on top of the potatoes not to waste a single bit. Cook’s Illustrated definitely knows what they are doing…I can’t wait for the next edition.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 ounces each)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled
- salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Using a fork, poke the thickest part of each chicken breast 5 to 6 times. Sprinkle the breasts evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Places the chicken breasts in a 9×13-inch baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake until the thickest part of the breast registers 145 to 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer – around 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts.
Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and pat dry. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat until smoking. While the pan is heating, whisk the butter, flour, cornstarch, and pepper together in a small bowl. Lightly brush the top side of the breasts with half the butter mixture. Place the chicken in the skillet (butter side down) and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes. While the chicken browns, brush the chicken with the remaining butter mixture. Using tongs, flip the chicken, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the second side is browned and the thickest part of the breast registers 160-165. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest while making the pan sauce. If you are not making a sauce, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes anyway before serving.
Add shallot to the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly – around 30 seconds. Add broth and increase heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer rapidly until reduced to about 3/4 of a cup, 3-5 minutes. Stir in any accumulated juices from the plate holding the chicken, and return to simmer and cook 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat, and whisk in the lemon juice, chives and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken and serve immediately.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Pan Seared Chicken Breasts