2 Methods for Quick Pan-seared Chicken Breast

I gave a private cooking lesson on Monday to a client that is on a great new food regimen called The Plan.  I don’t want to call it a diet as it teaches you about foods to eat and what foods cause an inflammatory reaction in the body.  You can check out more on The Plan and see a list of inflammatory foods at http://www.neighborhoodholistic.com (also on the Blog Roll below).

On my client’s plan, and the protein she consumes most, is chicken – skinless, boneless – like everyone else.  I showed her an easy method to get moist and flavorful pan-seared chicken breast that you can use with any other thick-cut meat, fish or poultry.  There are two methods and both will get you to where you want to be.

Method 1: Stove Top & Oven – for meats, fish and poultry

  1. Preparation – It all begins with preparation.  When you bring meats home from the store, season and wrap in Press n Seal portions you will prepare, then into a labeled freezer bag.  This way you don’t have to thaw 8 pieces of chicken if you are only making 2 at a time.  Also the meat has a chance at flavor before it hits the pan.
  2. Thaw – In the morning before you go to work, move the frozen portion to a plate on the lowest part of your refrigerator to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
  3. Room Temperature – When you return home, remove portion from the fridge, unwrap and let it come to room temperature…have a glass of wine, put on your slippers, pet the dog etcetera
  4. Preheat – preheat oven to 350 degrees* (see #2 of Method 2) and preheat oven-safe skillet over medium-high flame (pan is ready when you can’t hold your hand 2 inches above pan for no longer than 3 seconds – or, if you don’t have asbestos hands, give it 3 minutes).
  5. Season – if your protein is not pre-seasoned, first pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture (helps for a good sear), liberally season with kosher salt and pepper and/or your seasoning of choice
  6. Fat – coat the pan with a thin layer of cooking oil (grapeseed, olive, vegetable)
  7. Cooking – lay in your room temperature meat away from you (so you don’t get hot oil on yourself) and let it be until the edges get opaque/cooked and some caramelization appears on the side touching the pan – times vary on size.  Once the color is achieved, flip your protein, cook for one minute** (see #4 of Method 2) and move the oven-safe pan to the preheated oven.  Again times may vary (based on type and size of protein – rare steak, medium fish, well done chicken), but 5-8 minutes should do for well done.
  8. Resting – Remove pan from oven (NOTE! leave pot holder on pan handle to remember that it is HOT!) and/or protein from the pan to a cutting board and let rest so all of the juices can redistribute back into the meat.
  9. Slicing – if slicing, slice against the grain.
Method 2: Stove Top Only – tested for boneless, skinless chicken breasts only
  1. Follow instructions 1-3 above.
  2. * Preheat a pan with a lid (lid off to begin) over medium-high flame.
  3. Follow instructions 56 above
  4. **  Place lid tightly on pan, turn heat down to medium and cook for 3 minutes.  Move pan off of burner and let stand for 1 minute.
  5. Remove lid and follow instructions 8-9
You should have a beautifully seared and caramelized piece of whatever, that is also moist on the inside.  Good luck and I hope this helps your everyday cooking routine!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jason says:

    Hey SCHOPGirl! Its Jason.

    So, first, thanks for this preparation tip on chicken breast. Will definitely try it out….

    I tend to eat a lot of chicken breast so I wanted to let you know about my recent prep on my Fresh Direct delivery. I usually order two chicken breast “packets” which contain about 10 breasts. This time I seasoned them with a variety of dry rubs – adobo, lemon herb, curry, and wrapped them in freezer paper before putting them in a bigger ziplock and freezing them. Tonight I pulled out a curry chicken breast, sautéed it with spinach, shallots, garlic, olive oil, a little butter and white wine… and YUM YUM – quick chicken curry with a vegg.

    The extra time I spent seasoning the chicken beforehand paid off, since I didn’t have to do too much when cooking.

    Maybe a quick tip for others?

    1. SCHOP! Girl says:

      Always a great idea Jason! I encourage clients and readers to do the same at home. I know it is easy to just throw the prepackaged meat/poultry in the freezer, but seasoning them before hand and wrapping in portions makes week night cooking so much easier. Please keep one thing in mind when freezing meats – AIR IS BAD! Bad air! Wrap your meats tightly and then put them into a labeled freezer bag. It will keep for some time without freezer burn. Thanks for your suggestion.

      1. @TheUnrealAlbert says:

        i just used these methods to season & freeze some chhhhhiccckkkennnn breaaaaaaassssst…. **said in best Oprah voice***

  2. xtrafit says:

    I am going to read your blog as much as possible. This one helped a lot, it’s those little things is food prep that we have been missing.

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