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Old 05-11-2008, 10:54 PM   #1
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Chicken breasts questions

Hi! I'm new (as you can see), and I have a complete of quick problems/questions about chicken breasts that have been bugging me. "Why chicken" you ask? Because I am very big on lifting weights and staying fit. Chicken is healthy, full of protien, and isn't as expensive as steak .

Pan Frying w/ EVOO
Alright, where to start? Ah yes! This is how I cook most of my chicken because it's much quicker than dealing with the grill. What I normally do is season my chicken (depending on what I'm in the mood for depends on what I season it with) and then pan fry it over medium heat for about 6 or 7 minutes on each side. I used just a LITTLE tiny slice of butter, and about a tablespoon of olive oil per chicken breast. Here is the list of problems I sometimes have:

#1 - Sometimes, even though it's seasoned, the chicken breast as a powerful olive oil taste. I expect there to be some taste of EVOO and it may just be because I'm a newbie cook.

#2 - Normally, the first side of the chicken cooks up nice and fine with a slight brownish color/crust. However, when flipped, the other side tends to get a little OVER-browned (not quite burnt... just... a bit overdone). There's still plenty of butter/EVOO in the pan why is it doing this? It's almost as if I'm cooking on a hotter pan but I'm not .

#3 - Most of the times what I do is rinse the chicken breast, slightly dab it with a paper towel to get the excess water off, and season it. Sometimes, though, A TON of my seasoning falls off into the bottom of the pan. I don't move the chicken around at all when it's cooked but the seasoning is still finding a way to fall off.

Gas Grilling
I don't normally cook on the gas grill but I still have one main problem. I prepare and season my chicken as I normally do for pan frying, though.

#1 - Over cooking . It seems that no matter how careful I try and be with my chicken, I always get one side (or around some of the edges) over cooked. Why? I normally try and flip the chicken only once, letting it sit over a medium/medium high heat for about 5 minutes each side.

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If anyone can help answer any of the questions or give me some better tips then it would be MUCH appreciated!

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Old 05-11-2008, 11:11 PM   #2
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Well, one thing that might help is getting the chicken breast an even thickness. Place the chicken breast in a baggie or in between a couple layers of plastic wrap. Place your chicken on the plastic wrap and then fold the wrap over the top. Take a mallet and pound out the thicker areas of the chicken. I prefer to pound my chicken very thin. It makes for quick, easy cooking and is VERY tender. Maybe 2 minutes on each side and that's it!

If you prefer not to pound out so thin just know that the second side will cook much quicker than the first side.

As far as the seasoning falling off - you aren't giving the seasoning anything to hold onto. You can dredge the chicken in seasoned flour or I prefer to crush up melba toast in a food processor, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of poultry seasoning. Dip your chicken breast in egg whites then the melba toast crumbs and fry.

Oh, and you might want to use light olive oil. It has virtually no flavor. The EVOO you are using imparts quite a lot of flavor. Until you get used to that flavor I would go with the light. "Light" olive oil is light in flavor, nothing else. So it's great for cooking.

If you are grilling a chicken breast then 5 minutes on EACH side is probably too much. You might try 4 minutes on each or even 3 1/2, depending on the thickness. Once you remove from grill and place on a plate place a piece of foil on top and let rest for 10 minutes. This will continue the cooking process without drying out.
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:42 AM   #3
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Kitchenelf is right on all counts. Most people don't realize that chicken breasts, because they have no bone and no fat, cook very quickly. If you prefer to keep them on the thick side rather than pound them thin, turn your heat up at first then sear for about 1 minute on each side. Turn the heat down and cook them for another minute and a halfon each side. The reason your breasts are browning too much when you flip them is that your skillet is heating up as you are cooking on one side and by the time you flip the breast the skillet has become hotter . Turn the heat down when flipping a thinner breast and be sure to saute it only a minute or so.

As for the seasoning falling off, KE is right, there isn't enough moisture to hold the seasoning. Try seasoning the breast after you flip it. It will also keep the seasoning from burning.

I find the olive oil flavor a plus, that's why I use olive oil. Try using light oil or less of it. You don't need a full tablespoon for one breast.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
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For flavouring, try marinating or brining your chicken. Put the breast in a baggie with some lemon juice, herbs, garlic etc for about an hour. Any more than that and the lemon does a number on the meat. Try pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger and some garlic for a teriyaki flavour. Or plain brine, couple tbsps of sugar and equal amount of salt in a baggie and fill it with water and plop in the breast. You can add any flavours you like to that.

OK, having said that, you can also try rubs. To start, go buy a rub at the grocery store that is not total powder. Some of them are pastelike. Try that and see how you like it.

Oh and ditto what KE said about the cooking. My only addition is my cheat. I crank the heat on the pan, quickly sear one side, flip and sear the other side, turn the heat nearly off and put a lid on to seal the breast in there. More even cooking and moister meat.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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thanks very much everyone for the responses. I'll try and keep these tips in mind next time I cook!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Oh and ditto what KE said about the cooking. My only addition is my cheat. I crank the heat on the pan, quickly sear one side, flip and sear the other side, turn the heat nearly off and put a lid on to seal the breast in there. More even cooking and moister meat.
So if I'm understanding this correctly you turn your pan on high, sear both sides for a few seconds, cut the burner nearly off & cover... and that's it? Two questions: how long do you let each side cook after this & how low is "nearly off"?
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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Frying chicken. this is one of those times where I don't use olive oil. If you want really GOOD fried chicken, get some good old fashioned Crisco(shortening), (OK, lard is better but I don't want to kill anyone!).

Get the shortening hot in the skillet. Taken your chicken place in a bag. Dump some flour, salt and pepper in and shake. Put the chicken in the skillet and cover. Let it brown pretty well before turning.....now that's fried chicken!

On the grill I know a lot of people that think a low grill is the way to go for chicken. I prefer high to start with. Get that chicken cooking! Pop the
chicken on and close the lid. After a few minutes check and see.. there should be grill marks and white looking meat on the hot side, Turn the chicken let it set for a few minutes.. check again. When both sides are seared turn that heat down low, let the grill air out for a minute then close the lid. Grill until desired doneness... nice and browned on the outside.
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