I was a breast gal. A chicken breast gal. But I got tired of the dried-out, one-note grossness and switched to thighs. While these have more flavor and tend to be juicier, I really wanted to go back to breasts. Mostly because they’re easy to cook. Tonight, I think I unlocked the secrets to making UNREASONABLY JUICY and delicious chicken breast.
You will need:
- A good pan (cast iron was what I used)
- Olive oil
- Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice (bottled is fine)
- A bowl or freezer bag for marinating
- Paper towels
- Cutting board
- Chicken breasts
– I use a combo of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce (that’s really how it’s spelled–I had to look it up), and lemon juice. No recipe, just equal amounts of the sauces, then some lemon juice for good measure.
– You can marinate as long as you like, but I actually only had about 8 minutes.
2. Heat the pan
– I used a cast iron skillet, and heated olive oil to just below medium on our gas stove (between 3&4). Heat for a few minutes so the oil and pan are evenly hot.
3. Dab your chicken dry
– Thanks to Robert Irvine of Restaurant Impossible, I had the forethought to use paper towels to dab and squeeze most of the liquid out of the chicken. Robert’s tip was actually to do this with scallops. The reasoning was that removing the moisture allows the meat to sear, rather than steam. When it steams, the moisture INSIDE cooks out, and you end up with a dry, chewy blob of yuck. I thought I’d try it with chicken. Holy crap, I’m glad I did.
4. Cook it
– I learned this tip from Gilles LeFort of Ecole de Cuisine Le Fort outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. To get a nice sear without charring your meat, turn it every few minutes. I know some people think this is a sin, but I’ve done this for every steak since his class and it’s been carnivorous perfection. Basically, cook 2 minutes on each side, then turn every minute until it’s done. The amount of total time depends on how thick each piece is, but the breasts we made were on the thinner side, and it took about 12 minutes total. (FYI, a medium-rare filet takes 8 minutes over medium heat).
5. Rest it
– Once the chicken is cooked through (no pink jelly in the middle, juices run clear), take it out of the pan and let it sit on a cutting board for 2 minutes. This allows the juices to stay inside. If you try to cut it right away, all the juicy goodness runs out, and you dry out your meat, yet again.
6. Devour it!
We went Mediterranean with it this time, piling the plate with homemade hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, capers, olives, and roasted red peppers. MMMMM!