I love to cook, but there are days when I’m just too tired or busy to do much. Today was one of those days, so I turned to a long-time staple here at Magic Cove: sautéed chicken breasts. Nothing is faster or easier to do.
The chicken, start to finish, took about 20 minutes. In the meantime, I made pan-roasted potatoes at the same time, heated some peas (my family will only eat the canned baby ones, the heathens) and finished a partially pre-baked garlic knot loaf from Fresh Market (a total cheat). I was maybe in the kitchen 30 minutes, tops, and had a beautiful and (relatively) healthy meal on the table in no time.
Sautéed Chicken Breasts
For the chicken:
1 T. organic butter
1 T. good olive oil
Three to four organic chicken breasts
Freshly ground pepper
For the sauce:
2 minced garlic cloves
2 T. minced onion
1/3 cup white wine (I had a partial bottle of Pinot Grigio in the frig, so that’s what I used)
Juice of one lemon
2 T. organic butter
Fresh chopped parsley
For the chicken: Heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Lay down the chicken breasts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then turn so they are coated with the fat. Sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until they are lightly browned on both sides.
You don’t want them too dark. See that pretty color?
When the chicken is browned, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, turning occasionally, until just barely shy of done (done will be 180ºF on an instant-read thermometer, so shoot for about 170ºF). Remove the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Increase heat to medium. In the pan juices that remain, add the garlic and onion and sauté until soft. Add the white wine (if you are not accustomed to cooking alcohol over heat, especially gas, please remove the pan briefly from the heat to do this; I don’t want to hear it’s my fault you have no eyebrows). Bring the sauce to a boil and boil until slightly reduced. Add the lemon juice, then swirl in the butter. Cook until slightly thickened.
Add the chicken breasts back to the pan and cook in the sauce, turning occasionally, until cooked through and the chicken registers 180ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chicken to a platter, pour the sauce over and sprinkle with parsley (for me, a matter of stepping out my back door to the bodacious herb garden Grillmaster D planted for me). Serve hot.
* This is my favorite sauce for sautéed chicken breasts, but the possibilities are endless.
* A lot of people like to pound their chicken breasts thin before cooking, but we prefer them unpounded. Just remember that if you do, you will have to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
* I love lemon passionately, so this is a fairly tart sauce; however, if you are not quite the lemon lover, you can reduce the amount of lemon juice called for or substitute chicken broth for the wine.