I’ve made chicken like this for many years now. The technique is one I learned during my restaurant days; us servers would tend to our tables until the moment we heard the expediter yell “RUNNERS PLEASE!” then we’d drop everything and rush to the line to wait while Chef meticulously added his finishing touches. The instant each plate was finished, and not a moment later, we’d take the perfect plates to our tables. While Chef plated and garnished, I’d quietly observe the line cooks as they seasoned, seared and sautèed and absorb every move they made like a sponge. Restaurant cooks make nearly all proteins this way (with the exception of fish perhaps since it cooks so quickly) by searing one side in a super hot pan and finishing it in the oven. I love this preparation not only because it yields a perfectly cooked result but because it’s also a very hands-off technique which allows you to cook other components of the meal while the chicken roasts in the oven.
I like to buy bone in breasts with the skin on because the skin renders fat while it cooks and fat equals deeper flavor and juiciness. I usually go to Whole Foods and get them from the butcher counter where they have the breasts that are larger than what you get in the pre-packaged area. When I buy two breasts it’s usually around 1.75 lbs (just under a pound per breast) and I cook them a total of about 43-45 minutes. A package of 2 chicken breasts from any grocery store are typically around a pound, or just over, in which case I’d cook them for about 30 min total. Regardless the size, an instant read thermometer should read 165 when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
I like to add lemon, and sometimes onion and few springs of a fresh hearty herb like sage, thyme or rosemary to the pan if I have them on hand, but you don’t have to. Adding a few small dabs of butter right before it goes in the oven adds even more flavor and brings the deliciousness to another level. Make sure to let the chicken rest when if comes out of the oven. Resting is super important for juiciness as it allows the chicken’s natural moisture to redistribute back into the the meat while it cools down. When you cut into a piece of cooked meat right away, the juices just run out onto the cutting board which causes it to become dry and tough.
This is such I simple recipe! I can guarantee this technique will become a staple in your cooking repertoire; it’s so versatile you can cook nearly any protein this way and end up with juicy, tender meat, every time.
- 2 large, bone in-skin on chicken breasts (about 1.75 lbs)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Wash and thoroughly dry the chicken
- Season the skin side of the chicken with salt and pepper
- Heat a medium to large stainless steel or enamel sautè pan over medium heat and add the olive oil
- Place the chicken seasoned side down in the pan an cook for 3-4 minutes, browning it on all sides.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 40 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 when placed into the thickest part of the meat.