This is an easy recipe to prepare and yet it’s delicious. Proof, again, that a good dish need neither be intricate nor overly time consuming to make.
Sautéed Chicken Breasts
(Adapted from The Best 30-Minute Recipe, by America’s Test Kitchen at Cook’s Illustrated Magazine)
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Spread flour in shallow dish. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour to coat and shake off excess.
- Heat oil in 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay chicken in skillet and brown well on one side, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Flip chicken over, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until thickest part of breasts registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes longer.
- Transfer chicken to plate, civer with foil, and let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
Cooking Tips – To cook chicken breasts correctly, the first thing to consider is size. Be sure to select chicken breasts of equal size, so they will cook evenly. Flouring the chicken prior to sautéing will protect the meat from drying out and helps prevent it from sticking to skillet. Turning the heat down when browning the second side is crucial to prevent the pan from scorching while the chicken cooks through and will avoid a leathery, stringy exterior.
I served it with a wine sauce, made from a recipe also adapted from The Best 30-Minute Recipe.
Red Wine Pan Sauce
The Base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry or fish. Once the skillet protein is removed from the skillet, aromatics such asminced shallots can be sautéed, and then, in a process called deglazing, liquid – usually wine, stock, or both – is added to help dissolve the fond and make a flavorful sauce. The sauce is then simmered to concentrate flavors and chicken.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
- 1 shallot, minced
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock *
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp unsalted margarine, cut into 3 pieces and chilled
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
- After removing cooked protein from skillet, add shallot and 1/4 spoon teaspoon salt to oil left in skillet, return to medium-high heat, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in 1 1/4 cup of stock and brown sugar, simmer until sauce measures 1 cup, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk remaining 1/4 cup stock and cornstarch together until smooth, then whisk into sauce. Add any accumulated meat juices and continue to simmer, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and whisk in margarine, one piece at a time. Off heat, stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
* Chicken Stock – Brodo di Gallina
Yield: 16 cups
- 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 pound hen, cleaned and cut into four pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 large carrot
- 4 bay leaves
- 12 black peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place the celery and peppercorns on a piece of cheesecloth, then using kitchen string, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag.
- Place 16 cups water in a large pot. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to catch and discard the residue and foam. Add extra water to the broth, making sure the original level of broth is maintained throughout.
- Drain the stock through a strainer discarding the vegetables and reserving the flesh for further use in other recipes.
The chicken stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen up to 30 days.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!