One of the things I despise the most about cooking is handling meat. It actually really freaks me out, and it will take a lot of motivation for me to tackle a turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner down the road. Kudos to all of you who do!
I have only successfully cooked chicken breasts a dozen or so times, and it’s not because I haven’t tried. I’m notorious for undercooking, overcooking, and royally messing up any chicken I bring into the household. It is what it is.
For this reason, I usually pass the meat duties right onto Scott. We used to grill a few times every week, but we still haven’t purchased a new one since we moved to Michigan just short of three years ago. (Ridiculous… I know.)
For the first time ever, I feel confident handling the chicken for recipes and dinners and it’s all because of this video tutorial by The Kitchn Scott found a few months ago.
Even the most skeptical cooks can handle this one, promise!
1 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (of similar size)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
What You Need
heavy jar or wide drinking glass
large sauté pan with a tight fitting lid
tongs to handle chicken
cutting board and sharp knife
1. Trim the fat from chicken (if desired) and pound the chicken flat with a meat pounder, rolling pin, or jar to even the thickness.
2. Put 1 Tbsp. oil in a large cooking pan. Heat on med-high.
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
4. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the chicken in the pan for 1 minute.
5. Flip the chicken and cover it with a tight fitting lid for 10 minutes. Don’t touch it.
6. Remove chicken from heat for 10 minutes. No peeking. (Seriously, leave it!) Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through and without pink in the middle. If you want to be extra safe, use an instant-read thermometer to check (the chicken should be at least 165ºF.)
7. Serve as is or slice it to put on top of dishes like salads, pastas, or in sandwiches.
8. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Notes From The Kitchen
You want to make sure the breasts are flattened out as much as possible. This will ensure an even cook, all around.
If the chicken is too big, cut the breasts in half.
You’re going to want to peek at the chicken to check on it throughout the process. Don’t. The flip after the first minute of cooking them is the last time you will see them, uncovered, until they are done.
Since we bought colossal sized chicken breasts, it took a little bit of extra time to cook this batch. If this happens to you, put them back on the burner (covered) on low-medium until done. The biggest indicator to tell if your chicken is cooked is to cut the middle. If all of the pink is gone, you should be good!
You can also use a meat thermometer to gage the temperature. A fully cooked chicken should be at least 165ºF.
The most important thing to remember when using this strategy is to trust it and DON’T lift the lid to peek at the chicken while it’s cooking on (or off of the) stovetop. Doing so will affect the “poaching” process as described in the video. The first time you should take the lid off of the pan to check on it is after the 10 minutes of cooking off of the stovetop.
You can top the chicken in a sauce of choice or keep it plain and enjoy on top of a bowl of rice, salad, or even sautéed with other ingredients later on. We have plans for chicken fajitas tonight, and I’m really looking forward to them!
Questions of the Morning
• What is your favorite (or go-to) way to cook chicken?
• Do you have any fail stories while cooking chicken?
I will never forget the first time I ever cooked chicken for Scott and I after we got married. I put cream of mushroom soup over the breasts and stuck them in the oven to bake. They looked done, but when sat down to enjoy it over rice, the insides were completely pink. It took a long time for me to even want to eat chicken after that! Ha!