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Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

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Generally, I avoid cooking it like the plague. No matter what I do, it's just not that good. It is, however, good for me, and I probably ought to cook with it more than chicken thighs or even skin on, bone-in breast.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to improve this sub-par cut? Perhaps a strong, acidic marinade or a high (or low) heat? Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Neil

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  1. It's just not good how?

    Pan seared over medium-low heat 3 minutes each side then finish covered, in a pre-heated 350° for 5 – 6 minutes works for me (check temp with an instant read).

    Put the breast on a warm plate, use the fond with an ounce of wine, water or stock for a quick pan sauce.

    1. Although Chicken Marbella is generally made with skin-on, bone-in parts, it is also very good with bnls sknls bsts. The recipe is all over the internet.

      My speedy variation on a recipe for baked stuffed breasts: slice a bnls sknls bst into thin strips. Slice a strip of bacon crosswise into slices 1/2" or less and sautee till nearly done, then add the chicken and sautee, stirring often, till chicken is done. Stir in 2 Tbsp of flavored cream cheese (chive/onion or garden vegetable) and cook for another minute. This forms a delicious sauce. Serve over potato, rice, or noodles.

      1. The meat isn't sub-prime, it just needs to be treated for the cut it is - lean and sometimes lacking in flavor of a mass produced chicken. It needs a sauce or a stuffing.

        Brine for 20-30 minutes

        Pan fry:
        - Butterfly if fat, dust with flour and pan fry for 2-3 minutes on each side (test using a thermometer - don't overcook).
        - Pan sauces: honey balsamic or a fast piccata (lemon, caper)

        Stuffed:
        - Butterfly and pound gently until1/4 in
        - Choose fillings (eg sundried tomatoes & goat cheese)
        - Brown and then bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes

        Other options:
        - Stirfry
        - Breaded and baked as in Parm

        Let me know if you want specifics and happy eating.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alwayscooking

          I like the pound thin, stuff and bake method. I use tomatoes, cheese, basil, ham, mushrooms - whatever grabs me when I'm shopping.

        2. MMRuth has turned a bunch of us on to this recipe--a great treatment for SB chicken breasts.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4521...

          1. with such a lean cut, you're best off avoiding very high heat. part of what makes the dark meat more flavorful is it is slightly higher in fat. adding cheese or frying a skinless breast is kinda defeating the purpose.

            garnishing it with strong flavors like salsa, pesto, tapenade or roasted garlic and lemon will help. i often use yogurt as a marinade, or will mix sauteed dried spices into the yogurt and coat the chicken in that to cook it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              H

              Jfood would disagree with the high heat comment. The high heat will bring the meat past 160 quick enough to avoid drying out the meat.

              1. re: jfood

                Agreed

                Either a high or a low heat works fine - the dish/recipe should dictate the approach for temperature. The key is to pull it as soon as it reaches 157.

                1. re: jfood

                  Agreed. I do BSCB in a cast iron pan, coated in olive oil with salt and pepper. On medium high heat sear till nicely brown on one side and flip. Sear on the other side, cover and lower heat. The catch is to cook it till it is just done. BSCB will be nicely seared with good crust on both sides. Sliced, the chicken will be moist and flavorful on it's own. From there you can use it in many applications.

              2. I'm not a fan either, but alas, we cook with them a lot because they're easy and healthy. A couple of ways I like:
                I marinate them in yogurt with Moroccan spices (cumin, coriander, pinch of cinnamon, evoo, lemon juice, salt), grill (can't tell you the details on that - my husband's the grillmaster, and they're always perfect) - serve with couscous, top with a bit of the yogurt/lemon/salt mix, and a cilantro/shallot/evoo salad on top. There is a recipe on Epicurious that is similar, but I think it has a mint salad.

                I also make a chicken cashew curry like the one on Epicurious, but instead of chicken parts, I use chunks of cut-up BS chix breasts and only cook about 25 min. Serve over jasmine rice. We love that one.

                1. I think when pan-sautéing boneless skinless breasts, dredging in flour does help keep from toughening them.

                  This recipe is very tasty as a sort of short-cut tagine (though honestly, it's better with thighs). The only caveat is the sauce is so much better the next day, I make it the night before, then the day I'm going to eat it, I brown the chicken and let it finish cooking in the sauce.

                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  1. 1) Cut slices of bacon in half and lay them over the top of the b sk ch brst to protect it from heat that will dry it out. Bake. If you want you can dump some barbecue sauce on top of the bacon toward the end. 2) OR, sprinkle very very generously with soy sauce and garlic powder then add a can of crushed pineapple. Bake. 3) With either of these, put a whole sweet potato (stuck with fork to avoid explosion) on foil in same oven, very easy dinner. Bust the sweet potatoes open and apply butter and brown sugar.

                    1. An overnight soak in seasoned buttermilk seems to work for me. I then grill or grill-pan it to use for salads.

                      1. Brine them

                        Don't overcook them. High heat works best, IMO.

                        Avoid strong acidic marinades

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Why do you say to avoid the acidic marinades? My favorite way to prepare boneless breasts is in a lime marinade that I made up to emulate El Pollo Loco. I use olive oil, a good portion of lime juice, cayenne, cumin, garlic, and pepper. Only marinade about 1/2 hour and then grill. The chicken comes out very good.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Thank you all for your very helpful replies!

                          2. Chicken Saltimbocca is great and easy- various recipes for it online. Chicken milanese as well. I will often marinate a boneless breast in garlic, parsley, mustard, fresh lemon juice, salt pepper and olive oil. Then I grill it, slice thin and put on a spinach and argula salad for lunch to bring to work. not too exciting but it adds some protein to the salad and is relatively healthy.

                            1. On the menu tonight. Slice or pound thin. Dust with flour and saute until just done. Deglaze pan with a bit of chicken broth, lemon juice. Add rough cut capers and finely cut parsley. Serve with noodles.

                              1. I see what you mean...they can be great but they need to be cooked to perfection or thy very often turn out dry or undercooked. I always marinate them, depending on what kind of dish I'm going for. If it's Indian, I use a mix of natural or Greek yogurt, garam masala, cumin, turmeric nd lemon juice.

                                Or I mix Worcestershire sauce, red or white wine vinegar, paprika, garlic and mixd herbs. I bash them hard until they're flat, stuff them (with either light cream cheese, sundried or cherry tomatoes, basil, sage, mozzarella..the choice is endless), roll them tight and wrap them in Parma Ham. I then sear them in a pan with hot olive oil for 1-2 minutes and bake in the oven for 15-2o minutes. They are deliciously moist and a great, easy and healthy dish.