This is the best boneless chicken recipe ever; I’ll probably never cook it another way. I discovered this great technique thanks to the smart people at America’s Test Kitchen, who conduct exhaustive research on the best way to prepare all sorts of things. The technique described below is very similar to theirs, with just a few modifications. While it might seem backwards to start the chicken in the oven and finish it in the frying pan, trust me – it works beautifully, producing chicken that is tender and juicy on the inside, with a nicely crisped exterior. I like to add sauteed mushrooms to this sauce for an extra burst of flavour. This is one of those dishes that will have everyone at the table begging for seconds, so I recommend doubling the recipe!
Ingredients – Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (try to buy ones that are evenly sized)
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients- Pan Sauce
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon or orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh chives or green onion tops, minced
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Using a fork, poke the thickest parts of each chicken breast at least 5-6 times then evenly sprinkle both sides of each breast with 1/2 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt per breast. If using fine salt, reduce to 1/4 teaspoon per breast.
- Place chicken, top sides (what would have been the skin sides) down in an ungreased glass baking dish, covering tightly with foil.
- Bake until the thickest part of breast registers 145F. This will take about 25 – 30 minutes depending upon the size of the chicken breasts. Note that the chicken will be very pale and still be pink in the middle.
- Transfer chicken pieces to a paper towel-lined plate and pat the tops dry with more paper towel.
- Heat oil in a 12” regular skillet (not non-stick!) over medium-high heat until oil is hot.
- While pan is heating, mix together the melted butter, cornstarch, flour, and pepper till smooth. Brush the tops of the chicken breasts with half the butter and flour mixture.
- Place chicken in skillet, butter-coated side down, and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes. While the tops are browning, brush remaining butter mixture over the other side of the chicken.
- Use tongs to flip chicken and reduce heat to medium; cook the second side until the chicken’s internal temperature is 160 – 165F; about 4 – 6 minutes (again, depending upon the size of the chicken breasts).
- When chicken is cooked, remove it to a clean plate and let it rest. I leave it uncovered so the crispy exterior doesn’t sweat and become softened.
- If adding mushrooms, in a clean skillet, saute sliced mushrooms in butter over medium-high heat for 4 – 5 minutes until nicely browned. Let sit and then add to pan sauce with lemon, butter and green onions or chives.
- Prepare pan sauce by adding minced shallot to the skillet. Saute for 2 minutes or so until onion is nicely softened. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. As you stir, you should loosen the fond (the bits stuck to the pan).
- Let the sauce cook for 3 – 4 minutes until slightly reduced then stir in lemon juice, green onions or chives and butter to mount or finish the sauce.
- Plate the chicken pieces and spoon a generous amount of sauce over each one.
Serves 2 – 4.