Why I Love Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast–Emily Pahk

Posted on January 17, 2012

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I always take the breast meat. When my mom would make Shake N Bake, or my dad would throw teriyaki chicken on the barbecue, my two sisters would take the drumsticks and wings, my dad the thighs, and my mother and I the two breasts. My sisters always thought they got the better deal, but I knew better.

Now that I’m on my own, without four other mouths to feed, cooking an entire chicken seems a bit ridiculous. Lucky for me, modern day comforts allow me to purchase packaged and organic, boneless skinless chicken breast. No matter much I buy, I always cook it all at once to shred or slice it up and save it for sandwiches, salads, soups, anything really. Here’s how I do it..

First things first, you must pound your chicken breast so that the entire thing is one even slab of meat. If there’s a section that’s thicker, well folks, it’s gonna cook slower.

I like to line the kitchen counter with wax paper, place the chicken down, and cover it with plastic wrap. I’ve discovered that wax paper holds up better on the counter top surface, while the plastic wrap holds up better to my pounding.

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If you don’t have a meat pounder, use something else! I like to use a bottle of wine (I’m all about multifunctional tools in the kitchen). When pounding out your meat, go in both horizontal and vertical directions.

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Next, generously salt and pepper your chicken. Believe me, anything you’ve ever eaten and LOVED, had already been loved and smothered by either salt or butter, or both. So don’t be to modest with it, but also keep in mind that you can always add flavor, but you can not take it away. Maybe be a bit conservative your first go around– after all, practice makes perfect.

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Throw that sucker on a hot pan with some olive oil. You want a distinct sizzle when the cold meat hits the hot oil to ensure a nice grilled flavor. I always preheat my oil on medium-high heat, once that chicken hits, I turn it down to medium. For the most part, leave the chicken alone. Make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom (keep the meat down, and move in circular motions around the pan). The pink bottom is slowly going to turn white, creeping up from the bottom. Once you see that change of color is more than halfway, you can turn your meat. Again, leave it be. You should have some nice color on the one side. I like to put a lid over my pan for the second side, just to trap some heat in there and to speed up the process.

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Now, I know that I should tell you to cook that chicken until its a definite 140 degrees, but to be honest, I never check the temperature of my meat. If you notice juices starting to pool on the top of the breast, and when you lift up the meat to find there’s no pink left, you’re probably in good business. If you’re unsure, go ahead and slice into the middle of it (unless you’re trying to impress a date, and then pull out your trusty thermometer). Again, practice makes perfect here. The more you cook meat, the easier it gets to gage whether or not it is done.

Once all cooked, do with your meat as you please. Eat it then, save it for later, relish in your accomplishments. I like to cut mine in half horizontally.

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One piece with look somewhat like a lobster if you cooked it with the tenders on. And the other, relatively normal.

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Then I slice or shred it up, and enjoy throughout the week.

See The ABC Sandwich for a delicious way to utilize this meat.

Check out Emily’s other posts at: http://empahk.wordpress.com/

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Posted in: Student Posts