Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

>> Friday, March 15, 2013

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

Jessie, pan-roasting meat is one of those traditional chef techniques that's really worth learning. You need a frying pan that can go in the oven, which means the handle should either be metal or another material that's ovenproof. If your frying pan handle already has burn marks or melted spots from using it on the stove, it's not ovenproof.

You can cook any thick cut of meat or fish this way; it makes the outside crisp and the inside incredibly juicy. Basically, you quickly sear the outside of the meat on high heat, then roast it in the oven so that it's evenly cooked. At the end, you sort of bathe it over and over with butter and broth while turning it and cooking, until the juice just seeps off of it. The extra steps are worth it - I was nearly in tears over a recent chicken breast. Yes, I know I get emotional about food, but still.


For the seasoning

2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

2 bone-in chicken breasts
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil


Start by taking the skin off the chicken because you know you hate skin and even if you liked it, it's full of fat and not good for you. The fat end of each chicken breast is where the skin is loosest, so lift it up and pull it down toward the pointed end. You'll have to cut it off here and around the sides.

By the way, if you were ever in a plane crash like in the book "Hatchet" and had to live off of animals you caught, this is how you would skin them. Just in case you needed some survival skills. It comes off pretty easily once you get going. 

Next, you're going to stir together the seasoning ingredients and rub it into the chicken. The chicken on the left has been coated with the seasonings mixed together up above, and Joe's about to roll the other one on the plate of seasoning mix. Let the seasoned chicken sit for at least 15 minutes so the flavor seeps down into the meat. 

Seasoned chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the frying pan on medium-high heat, and when it is hot, pour in the oil and swirl it around to coat the pan. Adding the oil to a hot pan means you use less oil because it doesn't seep into the pores of a cold pan. It tastes better and heats up more evenly, too.

When the oil starts to shimmer in the pan, it's hot enough for you to put the chicken in the pan and brown it on one side for 3-4 minutes. Turn it over and brown the other side. When all sides are evenly golden brown (about 10 minutes), put the pan in the oven.

Roast the meat for 10-14 minutes, turning every few minutes, until the chicken is cooked to whiteness if you cut through the middle of a breast. If you use a meat thermometer, it should be about 165 degrees in the middle of the meat when it's done. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Place the pan on the stove. Melt the butter and oil together in the frying pan on medium-high heat until the butter has stopped bubbling but is still foamy. Put the chicken into the butter and let it sizzle for about 1 minute. Then tilt the pan so the butter mixture pools on one side, and pour spoonfuls of butter sauce over the meat. Keep basting the meat until the butter is a golden brown color like it is in the photo below. Serve it hot with the butter sauce on the side.

Serves 2-4, depending on how big the chicken is and how hungry you are.


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