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Basic questions about sauteeing boneless, skinless chicken breast

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I usually marinade and grill boneless, skinless chicken breast, and I realized that I don't really know the best way to go about cooking them on top of the stove. I have a few basic questions.

One, does it make any sense to marinade chicken before sauteeing it? I would probably just do something very basic with olive oil, lemon juice and/or white wine, and garlic.

Two, is it necessary/better to dredge the chicken in flour first?

Three, should I pound the chicken flatter?

Is there anything I should do to prevent the chicken from drying out (besides over-cooking)? I am making a pan sauce to accompany the chicken, btw.

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  1. This is a recipe I saw Julia Child do with Jacques Pepin.

    Warm the oven to 350 degrees. Coat your chicken with a little olive oil and spices, if you like. Place some liquid in the bottom of a baking dish. (I use chicken stock, but you could use white wine or just water.)

    Heat a non-stick grill pan to medium. When it is too hot to place your hand on the pan, place the chicken breasts across the grill marks. Sear the chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side -- test the chicken, and when it comes away easily from the pan, flip it over. When the second side is grilled, place it in the baking dish.

    Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Remove and let rest briefly to cool. If you are making a sauce, do so while the chicken is baking.

    You will have moist chicken that you can use in any fashion -- serve with a sauce, sllice to put in a salad, shred for barbeque, etc.

    1. When I pan saute chicken breasts, I usually pound them to perhaps half or less of their original thickness. I'll then sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a little olive oil which I'll "mush" and rub around. I add a small amount of oil to the pan and get almost smoking hot. The chicken will probably take only 2-3 minutes per side to cook. I have my oven set on low and remove the chicken to there. Then I make my sauce. Using the grill pan method that brandastarlet mentioned sounds like a good idea also but you wouldn't have any fond/drippings to make your sauce if you use a grill pan.

      1. it all depends on what you are trying to acheive.
        i think the key is to cook it until just underdone and let it rest to get to proper temp.
        i have marinated and poached chicken breasts with very good results, but i usally use the bone in ones with skin for this. your suggested mariande is pretty much my standard for poaching. i find these are only good to add to other dishes.

        if you want crispy and moist...pound as thinly as you can and dredge away in flour, panko, breadcrumbs etc. an evenly ponded breast will get rid of those dry spots....everything will cook perfectly in about 3 minutes per side. you can keep them warm while you do other things.

        my personal fav is a chicken breast done the flour than italian breadcrumb dredge. pounded thinly and cooked quickly. serve with a salad and pasta arrabiata on the side and a generous squeeze of lemon over the chicken. mmmmmmmmmmmmm

        good luck!