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Old 05-22-2006, 10:04 PM   #1
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Sauteeing Chicken

This evening, not half an hour ago, I attemped to make the following recipe:

http://home.ivillage.com/cooking/rec...lqw4gr,00.html

However, it seems my sauteeing skills, being completely unpracticed led to some disastrous results.

- The chicken did NOT cook in 3 minutes on each side. To be safe I cut into the chicken after the 6 minutes elapsed and found a dime sized center of uncooked pink chicken. Would the 180 degree oven trip actually finish this off?

- After all the chicken the pan was completely black from the charring, because I had left the chicken in to cook all the way. Is this because I used too high of heat? I was pretty high up on the dial.

- Same thing happened with the mushrooms, shallots and balsamic vinegar. Just scalding, charring and burning. I surmise this is from excessive heat, but the recipe seems to emphasize the high heat part.

Any suggestions?

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Old 05-22-2006, 10:12 PM   #2
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I forgot to mention a couple of things.

The chicken breasts were over an inch thick. Does that pose a problem? On a steak that seems fine for rare and medium rare preferences, but for chicken its a big no-no, I think.

Also, smoking was an incessant problem, and I was left with a pan dry of any of the original olive oil and butter. It all shot out, I suppose.
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Old 05-22-2006, 10:45 PM   #3
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Hope this helps. Don't get discouraged and keep practicing and you'll get it.

1. Unless you pound the chicken breasts thin a la scallopini style, they will not cook in that short of a time in a saute pan, hence finishing the chicken off in the oven.

2. Different pans heat differently so that could've been a problem. However, you may have just sauteed the mushrooms, shallots, etc. longer than what the recipe stated.

3. 180 F is too low regardless to finish the chicken off, unless you're really willing to wait for your dinner to be ready, especially since the sauce takes so little time to prepare. 400 F is what you want.

4. When heating the fat over high heat, make sure you add the food to the fat as soon as it just starts to smoke. At that point, you can lower the heat to medium-high to be on the safe side.

5. Try using just oil to saute the food in, instead of using oil and butter because the butter will burn. If you want the flavor of butter, finish the dish off with butter at the end.
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Old 05-22-2006, 10:59 PM   #4
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Based on the recipe you were using ... no - 3 minutes will not cook the chicken to "done" ... looking at the instructions ... "Saute, uncovered, for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the breasts to an ovenproof plate, reserving the drippings in the pan, and place them in the oven and continue cooking for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes."

The saute process is just to brown/crisp the outside - not cook it though, which is what the time in the oven does. And, I totally agree with IronChef - 180-F is WAY too low ... this might be a FUBAR recipe ... maybe the 180 was supposed to be 180-C, which would be about 356-F - which sounds about right.

There is a problem with "stove-top" temperatures in recipes sometimes ... and since you are the cook you have to make some judgements on if something is cooking too fast or not. If the food is burning - the heat is too high - regardless of what the recipe says.

While HIGH heat may work for cast iron ... and MED High may be fine for ALL-Clad tri-ply ... something with a thick encapsulated disk bottom may only need something in the range of MEDIUM to MED HIGH. I've got cast iron, thick anodized aluminum, Calphalon anodized (only about 1/2 as thick), and stainless steel ... they all cook differently and I could NEVER just use one temp to make the same dish using different pans.

I REALLY hate to resort to using an Emerilism ... but ... USE YOUR KNOBS! If the food is cooking too quickly/burning - the heat is too high!
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:01 AM   #5
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knobs? lol...I do remember him saying that and it was funny (once at least) also, "I don't know where you buy your chicken, but mine doesn't come pre -seasoned. Bam"

As for sauteing...yeh different pans and different stoves...we all eventually have our favorites. I love the sound of food sizzling in tinned copper, and it gives me a lot of control, but it takes practice. Enamelled cast iron is excellent to cook with because it holds the heat.

Chicken is a great practice item because it will brown given time, space, and heat. It is more forgiving than a steak. It is also very versatile.
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:36 AM   #6
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I agree that the recipe has a misprint.

The stove top saute is to brown the exterior of the chicken, not to cook it through. The trip to a 180C oven (356F) will finish the cooking of the breasts.

Try the recipe again. It sounds good!
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:09 AM   #7
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What was the misprint?
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:12 AM   #8
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The misprint was where they said to heat the over to 180 degrees F. It should have read 180 degrees C or 360 F.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:13 AM   #9
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The recipe called for preheating the oven to 180F. It probably should have read 180C to make sense.
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