Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Parsley-Lemon Sauce
Who said parsley is just a garnish? I made a quick parsley-lemon sauce to accompany brined chicken breasts which I pan seared and then put in an oven to finish cooking (the roasted potatoes were in there anyway). I also served the chicken with sauteed mushrooms.
A trick to keep the lean boneless, skinless chicken breasts moist is to brine the chicken beforehand. If you do it the night before or the morning of, it will be ready to put on the stove when it's time from dinner.
This meal couldn't have been simpler, and it was delicious.
3 chicken breasts (1 pack)
Little less than 1/4 kosher cup of salt
2 cups water
Mixed seasoning of your choice optional (I used Penzey's Mural of Flavor on the chicken, but it's not necessary)
Parsley lemon sauce
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic, crushed
1 tbs. oil
2 tbs. butter
1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed and then chopped
Salt and pepper
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
In the morning, mix brine in a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl and let salt dissolve. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag, add chicken and put it in the fridge in a bowl (in case the bag leaks). If you're going to cook more chicken breasts, you could probably still fit more chicken in the same bag without making more brine. You just need enough brine to cover the chicken.
When you're ready to cook the chicken, turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Take the chicken out of the Ziploc, rinse it well, pat it dry and brush the top-sides with a little olive oil. Add pepper and/or no-salt seasoning mix if you're using it (no need to add salt here because the chicken is brined).
Hopefully you have an oven-safe skillet so you can cook on the stove and then transfer the pan to the oven. If not, you'll need to have a baking sheet out too.
Heat a skillet or an indoor grill over medium-high heat until it's almost smoking. Put chicken topside down and cook for five minutes. While it's cooking, brush the tops of the chicken breast with a little oil and sprinkle meat with pepper and/or seasoning mix. Flip chicken and cook another 5 minutes.
Put in the oven for another 10-15 minutes (or less if you have thin chicken breasts). Since I don't pound the chicken to even thinness, I usually use an instant read thermometer and take out whatever pieces of chicken are ready when they hit 165 degrees. Let them rest a few minutes before cutting, so the internal juices can distribute themselves.
While the chicken is cooking, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Push garlic around in the oil to flavor it. Add shallot and cook for one minute. Add butter, letting it foam and brown a little, another minute. Remove garlic pieces and add parsley, lemon, salt and pepper. Turn off and take off heat. Put chicken on a platter and pour parsley lemon sauce over the chicken. Enjoy.