Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All-Purpose Sautéed Chicken Breasts

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
Garlic powder

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!!


Dan, Jane, and Colin said...

This sounds just delicious. I really appreciate the recipes as well as the budget saving tips and tricks, which have already been applied to and helped out our household grocery budget. What I have found especially useful is the tip on buying dry/unprepped version of ingredients and how to prep those and also the reminder that crock pots are wonderful - as my my mom says "let's the machine do your work for you".

I am wondering if it's okay is if you could suggest more tips and tricks on freezing- what you can and can't freeze, how best to wrap/prep to avoid freezer burn, how best to defrost, etc. I'll be using the banana tip this weekend, but meat, dairy and egg based dishes are all a mystery to me as to ensuring success in freezing.

Also, from this specific post, I have always had poor luck with food thermometers in terms of finding one that actually works. I haven't ever bought a digital read out because I would want to know that it works before "investing" in one.

Thanks muchly!
Jane :D

Sumiko said...


Your mom is a wise woman!

We already label freezable recipes, but we can also put together some basics! Great idea.

As far as thermometers go, I'll go ahead and do that for my next equipment post. Look for it in the next couple of weeks!

Glad you're enjoying the blog!

Dan, Jane, and Colin said...

Thank you!

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