Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elegant and Easy: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Pan Jus

I love how food can be elegant and easy at the same time.  And my recipe for pan-seared chicken breasts with pan jus fits the bill perfectly.  A cinch to prepare, this dish takes our favorite white meat and elevates it to 'star' status.

The seared crust, flavored with herbs, along with the bright and fresh pan jus, renders a moist, succulent chicken breast, bite after bite.  I've served this for dinner parties and private dining, alike, and can tell you that although it's simple in preparation, you won't lack the wow appeal or flavor typically associated with more complicated fare.

So here's to elegant, easy--and delicious.  Happy Eating!

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Pan Jus

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound, skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Several sprigs fresh thyme
Herbs de provence or other dried herbs
1 "pat" of butter
3/4 cup chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
3/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon of drained capers or fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Coat bottom of frying pan/skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat, add in thyme sprigs
Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and dried herbs and add to the pan (don't overcrowd the pan!) and allow to brown nicely on one side (about 4 minutes); flip over and allow to brown on the other side   
(Cook’s Note: you will know when it's time to flip the chicken when it naturally releases from the pan without sticking)
Remove chicken from the pan and set aside
Add chicken stock, lemon juice, wine and more black pepper and use to de-glaze the pan (i.e. scrape up browned bits from bottom of the pan); stir sauce and bring to a simmer
Stir in pat of butter and return chicken to the pan
Continue to cook chicken in sauce for another 4-5 minutes
Stir in capers or sprinkle fresh parsley at very end of cooking, if using
Serve chicken and drizzle with pan jus

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