I believe you already know how amazing Cook's Illustrated Magazine is. I believe you do because I told you so. If you do not, flip back and check out my other ravings about them. The April 2010 edition is, of course, my latest literary treat in culinary publications. The cover of this magazine is always so scintillating and inspiring. This month features some steamy, sexy broccoli. I suggest you pick it up and salivate over the delicious contents within its pages some time very soon.
One particular recipe that I've been meaning to try since I first read about it is their Better Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts. As always, the author goes through several trials to perfect the dish and make it easy for readers and home cooks to replicate with flawless results. I'm telling you, this magazine rocks. No recipe from it has ever failed me. The dish was simple to prepare. It required few ingredients, many of which I already had on hand like flour, butter, and fresh lemons. The things I had to go out for, like boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and shallots, were easy enough to find at any supermarket or grocery store.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breats (6-8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat
2 Tbsp kosher salt or 1 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 recipe pan sauce ( recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Using fork, poke thickest half of each breast 5 or 6 times; evenly sprinkle each breast with 1/2 tsp salt or 1/4 table salt. Place chicken, skinned side down, in 13 by 9 inch baking dish and cover tightly with goil. Bake until thickest part of breast registers 145 to 150 degrees - 30 to 40 minutes
2. Remove chicken from oven and transfer, skinned side up, to paper towel-lined plate and pat dry with paper towels. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. While pan is heating, whisk butter, flour, cornstarch, and pepper together in small bowl. Lightly brush top side of chicken with half of butter mixture. Place chicken in skillet, coated side down, and cook until browned, 3-4 minutes. While chicken browns, brush with the remaining butter mixture. Using tongs, flip chicken, reduce heat to medium, and cook until second side is browned and thickest part of breast reads 160 degrees on thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate and let rest while preparing pan sauce.
Lemon and Chive Pan sauce
1 medium shallot, minced, about 3 Tbsp
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh chives
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
salt and pepper to taste
Add shallot to now-empty skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add broth, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Simmer rapidly until reduced to 3/4 C, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in any accumulated chicken juices; return to simmer and cook 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in lemon juice, chives, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken and serve immediately.
Just as the author had promised, the meat came out juicy and flavourful, with a fantastic crust from the quick pan-sear. What's even better, I did not have to fool around with it as it pre-cooked in a sealed roasting pan in the oven. As that happened, I prepared the ingredients for the sauce, helped my sister make an amazing shredded beet and mint salad, and sipped wine and hung out with my visiting family.
One or two people have already tried this recipe, based on my recommendation, and I suggest you do the same. But truly, do yourself a favour, and pick up the whole magazine. There are plenty of other wonderful recipes and tips that I can't wait to try out. Best Chewy Brownies, anyone?
One friend who made this recipe for her boyfriend tonight has offered to trade me for a tuna tartar recipe. It involves infusing olive oil with ginger. I'm very excited.
Say, I have an idea. Pick a friend (this friend could certainly be me if you choose) and arrange to swap recipes. Use something tried and tested; your go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies, or lasagne, or apple muffins, or whatever. Let's help each other be better, healthier, more adventurous cooks!