Friday, February 17, 2012

Pan-Seared Chicken Breast

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:


  1. I saw this episode and have been planning on trying chicken breasts cooked this way. Thanks for the heads up about not getting distracted.

  2. The chicken looks amazing! It looks juicy and so tender. Perfect!!!