Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pan-seared Balsamic Chicken Breasts

The other night, my in-laws, the kids and I went out for dinner and one of the dishes we had was a chicken saltimbocca. I liked it so much that I was fine with having it again for dinner tonight. Well, I only had the chicken breasts on hand and none of the other ingredients I needed to make the dish. The other problem was the weather. It was dreary and starting to rain. There was no way I was heading out to the store with two little monkeys in tow. It was back to the drawing board. 

I rummaged through the cupboards looking for something to concoct a sauce for the chicken. I had a bunch of Asian sauces, mustard, dried spices, peanut butter and half a dozen different kinds of vinegar. None of it sounded too appealing. Then I remembered seeing a recipe for chicken with a balsamic vinegar sauce. So that's what I tried to create!

Pan-seared Balsamic Chicken Breasts
  • 4 chicken breasts; rinsed in cold water and dried well with paper towels; pounded out until about 1/2 inch thick and even
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, oregano or thyme; chopped 
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of brandy
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp COLD butter
Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Sprinkle the fresh herbs all over them and press done so that they stick.

Add the flour to a plate or shallow bowl. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour. Shake off the excess flour. Set aside on a plate.

Heat up the olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
When the oil is glistening hot, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes (depending on the thickness of the breast). Should be golden brown in color. Flip them over and cook for 4-5 more minutes on the other side or until just cooked through. You can cut into the thickest part to check for doneness. Set aside on a plate. Cover with foil.

Heat the now empty pan back up over medium-high heat.

Add the broth and brandy. When it comes to a boil, turn heat back down to a simmer  and cook for about 4 minutes or until reduced by a third, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the balsamic and parsley and cook for another minute.

Turn off the heat and add the pat of cold butter. Swirl it around with a wooden spoon until it melts and the sauce thickens.

Plate the chicken and generously spoon the sauce over the breasts. Or leave the sauce in a dish on the side so that everyone can add it themselves. Serve immediately.

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