How do you cook chicken breasts? Let me count the ways…
The amazing thing about chicken breasts is the myriad of ways you can cook it. You can roast it or grill it and make it the star of the meal or you can shred it and cook it as a part of a bigger recipe. Whatever you choose to do with it, how you cook those chicken breasts can make or break your meal. Read on for the three best ways to cook chicken breasts.
Poaching Chicken Breast for Salads:
Poaching chicken breasts is the ideal way to prep them for a salad or a pasta. The chicken stays beautifully moist and becomes really easy to shred. Getting the perfect poach is really easy providing you keep a close eye on what’s going on. You can use chicken stock and a variety of aromatics for flavour.
- Place the chicken in a saucepan.
- Fill the pan with water or stock until the chicken breasts are covered by at least an inch.
- Add in salt and aromatics – sage, a bay leaf, a teaspoon of peppercorns, a chopped shallot, and lemon wedges make a great combination.
- Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to a low simmer.
- Lower the heat and make sure the simmer stays low.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Take the chicken out of the water and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Pan-Fried Chicken for A Crispy Coating:
A quick way to cook chicken breasts is to pan fry them. Prep the chicken breasts by brining them in salt water for about 20 minutes. Flatten them by pounding with a meat mallet, or the bottom of a sturdy jar, then follow the instructions below.
- Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.
- Add any other seasonings of your choice – cayenne pepper, cumin powder, dried herbs, or others.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl the pan so the oil forms a coating.
- Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down to medium and add the chicken breasts.
- Let the chicken breasts remain in the pan for a minute or so without touching them and flip them over.
- Place a lid on the pan and let the chicken breasts cook on a low heat setting for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Do not remove the lid and let the chicken be for another 10 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts to make sure they’re cooked. It should be at least 170°F (77°C).
Velveting Chicken for Stir Fries and Noodles:
Ever wonder how Chinese restaurants get their chicken so perfect? They use a technique called velveting. This technique uses sliced chicken breasts instead of whole. To get a perfect slice, put the chicken breasts in the freezer until they are firm but not frozen. Then slice them into pieces about ¼ inch thick.
- Place 4 sliced chicken breasts in a bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 tsp of baking soda over the slices and mix.
- Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse well in a colander and pat dry.
- Use as directed in your favorite stir-fry or southeast Asian recipe.
Use this method and you’ll never look back!