Simple can be delicious. One of my favorite ways to cook chicken breasts is to sauté them in butter with some simple seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. The result is super juicy, flavorful chicken that can be served as is or chopped up and added to dinner salads such as taco salad, fruit and walnut salad, or Chinese chicken salad. One large breast is enough chicken for a dinner salad for my whole family plus a salad for Robbie's lunch the next day. I usually sauté more than I need and freeze the leftovers for easy salad preparation.
There are two keys to achieving a finished product that is thoroughly cooked yet still juicy: a hot skillet and an instant read probe thermometer. I always make this chicken in my iron skillet over medium-high heat. The pan should be so hot that it starts sizzling as soon as the chicken touches it. An iron skillet is ideal because it gets really hot and retains the heat well. The result is a nice, flavorful crust that seals in the juices.
To prevent overcooking, I always use my thermometer to I know exactly when the chicken is done. Poultry should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°. I usually set my thermometer to alert me at 160° and turn the burner off at that point because the residual heat will continue to cook the chicken, bringing the temperature up to 165°.
Sautéed Chicken Breasts
2-3 Tbsp. butter
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Heat iron skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, generously season one side of chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Add butter to skillet. When butter is melted and bubbly, add chicken breasts, seasoned side down. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan—leave space between breasts. Generously season other side of chicken. Insert thermometer probe into thick end of one breast. Sauté without moving until first side is blackened (10-15 minutes, more or less depending on breast thickness). Flip chicken and sauté until thermometer reads 160°. Turn off heat and let sit until temperature reaches 165°. Remove from heat. Note: If second side starts to blacken too much before temperature reaches 160°, flip back to first side.
|Note how dark the finished chicken is--it is not burned.|
The blackened crust has tons of flavor!!