Friday, February 17, 2012
Preparing chicken breast this way eliminates two problems: One - the thickness of the breast varies, making one end dry and the other underdone. Two - boneless, skinless chicken breast is almost impossible to be as moist and tender as your standard bone-in, skin-on breast... till now.
The past few years, I’ve become a fan of America’s Test Kitchen - a PBS cooking show that features bow-tie clad Christopher Kimball (he could be a brother to Mr. Rogers) - and his staff of ingenious cooks who approach cooking problems like detectives. Once I got over Mr. Kimball’s very goofy demeanor, it started to grow on me. I DVR every episode and watch them when I grow tired of cooking - which rejuvenates me.
One recent episode featured a different method of cooking the new American standard - boneless, skinless, chicken breast. Without skin or bone - this tender meat can easily be sacrificed if you aren’t careful.
Three steps help this recipe work. One - salting the meat so it retains moisture. Two - “parcooking” the breast briefly in the oven, then finishing it off on the stovetop. Three - “velveting” to create a protective layer that browns it beautifully without toughening it.
For this to work well, you can’t be distracted (good luck with that!) - or the meat will overcook in just minutes. It’s not a fix-and-forget meal, but when done properly - yields a very moist, tender chicken breast with a crisp and brown outer crust.
For complete instructions, amounts, and photos - go to: