Sunday, September 19, 2010

It was Amazingly Good! Pan-sauted Chicken Breasts with Pan Sauce

Sorry... no photos.  It smelled too good, I was too hungry (little to no lunch) and it was 8:30 p.m.  No natural lighting.

But let me tell you what I did and you can recreate it yourself.   This is a dish you want to start in the morning for the evening, but no worries... the morning prep is super easy.

That is... if you remembered to take the boneless chicken breasts out of the freezer the night before.  If not,  take them out now, put them on a metal baking sheet or cake pan.  The metal surface will dispel the coldness and the chicken will defrost faster.  (I do this all the time with frozen food.)

When the chicken breasts (2) are thawed, rinse or don't, it's up to you.  Mine were very fresh... had just picked them up from the organic producers that day and I had just cut up the chickens, so they were already rinsed.

Take a gallon ziplock bag and dump in a tablespoon or so of Canadian Steak Seasoning (black pepper, onion and garlic minced and dried), then a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt.  Add 2-3 cups of water and seal the bag.  Double check the seal.  You'll see why..... now shake or squish the bag so the salt dissolves.  (see why you want that seal, Sealed!)  Add the chicken breasts.  Place the brining chicken bag in a bowl and place in the fridge.  See!  That part was easy-peasy.

Later on or the next day (I left mine brining for 18 hours because I was too lazy tired to cook these.  Then I dumped out the brine and left the bag open just an inch and left it in the fridge for another 24 hours.  Again... I was not in the mood for cooking chicken on the chair painting evening.  Too hot and humid.)

Ok.... so you can do like I did OR you can dump off the brine and proceed as follows:

Pat the chicken dry.  Dedge in flour seasoned however you like.  I added a couple of good shakes of Goya brand Adobo seasoning(found in the Mexican/Latin foods part of your grocery) to mine.  Heat a medium frying pan.  Do not use a non-stick pan.  We want fond to form, Puffins.  When the pan is heated, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Let the oil get good and hot, but not smoking.   Add the coated chicken breast, skin-side down.  Let brown until nice and golden.  Turn over and let the second side brown. 

After both sides are browned, turn the burner down a bit and let the chicken cook.  If you see things are getting too hot and too cooked and the fond (the dark brown stuck-on bits of goodness in the bottom of the pan) is in danger of burning, add some water to the pan, clap on the lid and let it simmer.  You may have to add more water if your lid is not a tight seal for the pan.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside to rest.  Add 2 cups of liquid to the frying pan.  You can add just water or like me, add some chicken stock.  Stir the bottom of the pan with a flat edged spatula or wooden spoon to get all those yummy fond bits dissolved and incorporated.  Turn the heat to simmer and let the liquid reduce to a cup.  While it's doing this, add whatever other seasonings you want.  I added some dried thyme and a teaspoon of white wine vinegar for some brightening.  When the liquid is reduced and somewhat syrupy, add a Tablespoon of butter in 3 pieces.  Stirring to incorporate as it melts and thickens the sauce.  Turn off the heat, stir in any juices from the chicken plate.

and there you go!  Chicken with Pan Sauce.  I also made some rice in my automatic rice cooker (LOVE this appliance!)  1 cup regular white rice (NOT Minute Rice), 2 cups chicken stock, some dried mushroom slices and some dried leeks and a splash of EVOO.  Pushed the button and let it cook while I did the chicken and sauce.  It all got done together.  Add in a green salad and a glass of wine and you have an easy-peasy Delicious dinner in under an hour.

(Now, I know you really good cooks are rolling your eyes are me now.  This is beyond easy for you.  But I am a Farmer's Wife.  My normal type meals are basic beef and potatoes.  Sauces are not there unless you count the occasional gravy or spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.   I was proud of myself for recreating this meal from a vague memory having made similar dishes out of my Cook's Illustrated books.  Somewhere along the way, the basic "formula" stuck in my head.  And boy is my tummy ever glad!)

Another nice thing about this meal is that it was all from my pantry.  As in no special buys this week.  Rice and chicken stock are always staples.  I just picked up my annual organic chicken order on Thursday.  I made the dried mushrooms and leeks from some that were destined for the garbage at my grocers.  I got them at a very reduced price, trimmed and sliced and dried in my dehydrator.  They add wonderful flavor to rice, soups, eggs (reconstituted first before adding to eggs).  

So Puffins... are you a cook by the book person or do you have all the formulas memorized so you can be creative or is every meal an adventure at your house as you just dump and stir and see what you get?  I'd like to know.   :oD


**  "One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating."  ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story


  1. LOL here I am CANADIAN and I've never heard of Canadian Steak Seasoning....Montreal Steak Spice but not the other;)

  2. Yes, I am Canadian too and I think we would call it Montreal Steak. I swear by that and Salad Supreme.

    Thank you so much Kay, I was feeling intimidated this week and this blog is GREAT for inspiration. leslie

  3. Ok you Canuks... it is the Tone's brand and IS called Canadian Steak Seasoning... I just looked at the bottle. McCormick's brand is Montreal Steak Seasoning. Are we all happy now? lol

    Leslie-- welcome! Not sure why you were feeling intimidated but I'm very glad you found inspiration here and that my Simple Pleasures were a blessing to you. :oD