*This was the first recipe I thought of when All-Clad asked me to test their new d5 Stainless pans. Enjoy!
The best part of chicken is crispy skin. This recipe gives you the crispiest skin that I know how to make.
*The only thing that comes close is cooking your chicken on a rotisserie. I don't think fried chicken counts, because you're frying the coating as much as the skin.
**Not that there's anything wrong with fried chicken.
The basic sear-roast technique is useful when you want to cook something with a deep, browned crust, but it's too thick to cook through on the stovetop without burning. You sear it to get the browning, then move it into the oven to gently finish cooking. I've sear-roasted everything from pork tenderloin, to thick-cut steak, to rack of lamb. This recipe is my favorite application of the sear-roast technique.
Recipe: Sear Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce
- 12" oven safe frypan (It needs to be a heavy pan - I love All-Clad pans for this; that's why I picked it to test the d5 pan. My second choice would be a 12" cast iron skillet.)
- 4 or 5 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
- 2.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp canola oli
- 1 small shallot, minced fine
- 1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade, or substitute water)
- 2-3 thyme sprigs
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare the Chicken: Heat your oven to 350*F. If the chicken breasts came with the rib section still attached, remove them. (I use my kitchen scissors for this; see picture, below.) Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper, using 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp pepper per piece. Let rest at room temperature until the pan is heated.
*If you have the time, you can dry brine the chicken by salting it 4 to 24 hours in advance, and leaving it in the refrigerator. Or, you can brine the chicken. Dissolve 1 cup of kosher salt in 2 quarts of water, then soak the chicken in this brine for 1 to 4 hours. Pat dry with paper towels before using.
2. Sear the chicken: Put the teaspoon of oil in your fry pan, and heat over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Swirl the oil around to coat the pan, then add the chicken, skin side down. Sear for 4 to 8 minutes, or until the skin is a dark golden brown. Flip the chicken and sear the bone side for 4 minutes.
*Searing time will depend on how crowded your pan is. With 5 breasts, which crowds the pan a little, it will take 6 to 8 minutes to get a good sear. If your pan isn't very crowded (like in the picture below), searing will take less time - 4 to 6 minutes.
3. Roast the Chicken: Move the pan to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. You want to cook the chicken until it is just 160*F in the thickest part of the meat. (The best way to check this is with a remote probe thermometer.) Using an oven mitt or pot holder, remove the pan from the oven, and move the chicken to a serving plate.
4. Make the Sauce: Remember, the handle is still rocket hot!* Using an oven mitt or pot holder, put the pan over medium heat. Add the shallot to the pan and saute, stirring, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the shallot is softened. Add the chicken stock and herbs, then turn the heat to high. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen all the browned bits of chicken, then boil the stock until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. The plate holding the chicken breasts will have some chicken juice on the bottom; add it to the pan. Turn off the heat, and remove the herb sprigs. Whisk the butter into the sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste. You want the sauce to be highly seasoned, so don't be afraid to add more salt or pepper if it needs it.
*From time to time, I forget that the pan just came out of the oven, and brand myself with the handle. I try to leave my oven mitt on the handle of the pan to remind me that it is still hot.
5. Serve: Spoon a teaspoon of sauce over each breast, then serve, passing the rest of the sauce on the side.
*Use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces instead of just breasts - you can just fit a cut up 4 pound fryer in a 12" skillet. Or, just use chicken thighs, like I did in this recipe: Sear roasted chicken thighs.
*Change up the sauce. Replace the scallion with another aromatic, like garlic or scallions. Replace some of the stock with a liquor, like marsala or sherry. Replace the butter with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. The variations here are almost endless. If you have a favorite pan sauce, use it here.
*Or, simplify the sauce. The simplest sauce I know is: deglaze the pan with 1 cup chicken stock or water, with some salt and pepper for seasoning. The browned bits in the pan give this simple sauce a surprising depth of flavor.
*Don't crowd your pan. If you have a 3 quart saute pan (like I used to), 5 chicken breasts are too many. 4 pieces will have to do. You want a little space between each breast. Otherwise, the chicken will steam instead of browning, and you won't get the wonderful, crispy skin that makes this recipe worthwhile.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Here's another variation on this technique: Sear roasted chicken thighs with quick lemon pan sauce
Testing the new 12 inch All-Clad d5 Stainless fry pan
Pan-Roasted Chicken by Cooks Illustrated [cooksillustrated.com, subscription required]
*Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe using your RSS reader or by Email, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you!