This is my go-to recipe for chicken — pan fried to seal in the juices and finished in a hot oven. Perfect for a weeknight because you can finish the rest of the meal while the chicken is baking and resting for 12 minutes.  It works for many meals: pair it with some potatoes and vegetables; make a chicken quesadilla or enchilada; or dice it for a caesar or chef’s salad.  Dinner really can be ready in 20 minutes.

Simple Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • IMG_58101 & 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (about 2 of the very large ones)
  • mixed herbs or seasoned salt
  • 1-2 T cooking oil (I prefer a mix of canola and olive)

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to  450ºF.
  2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and mixed herbs and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  3. Using the stove top, heat an oven proof skillet on high.
  4. When skillet is hot, add the oil and as soon as the oil is hot, place the chicken evenly in the pan. Fry chicken without moving it 3 minutes; then flip and sear the other side for another 3 minutes (you might need a good lifter to get the chicken off the pan without removing the outer seal).
  5. Place the oven-proof pan with the chicken into the pre-heated oven and bake  for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove and check to see if it’s done by piercing with a fork…the juices should run clear. If the breasts were unusally large you might need an extra minute but that is unlikely. Let the breasts rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve (or serve whole if you prefer).

Lessons Learned/Advice:

  • Marinating pan fried chicken will add more flavor so if you have time, you can use a store bought variety or simply make your own from lemon juice, olive oil, salt and spices.  You can even leave it marinating in the fridge while you’re at work so it’s ready to cook when you come home.
  •  Defrosting frozen chicken is best to do in some way that doesn’t let the chicken sit at room temperature.  Leaving it overnight in the fridge is one method, or my mother’s favorite:  let it sit on the counter in a bowl of cold water. Frozen boneless breasts (especially is separated and not frozen as a block) will defrost in under two hours.
  • For cooking oil, we use a canola-olive oil mix (1/2 & 1/2). The olive oil has more flavor and we think it’s healthier; the canola has a higher smoke point (i.e. it doesn’t smoke as as quickly as olive oil will). So, for higher heats, avoid olive oil altogether or use a mix.
  • Our go-to oven proof skillets are cast iron that will last a lifetime, but there are other great options. Just make sure you’re not ruining a beautiful non-stick pan by cooking over high heat and putting it in a hot oven. And make sure the handle is also heat proof.
  • Don’t forget that the pan handle is really hot!  Maybe leave a potholder on top of the handle as a reminder.
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