I can't even remember the last time I just bought chicken breasts at the store. In college I would buy the skinless, boneless version in enormous frozen bags, but I've changed since then. I usually go for a whole chicken now, which I either immediately roast or cut up and use how I see fit. But the fiancée and I were going away for a long weekend and just needed a quick meal that wouldn't leave any leftovers. Sparked by both curiosity and practicality, I set off for some chicken breasts.
We wanted to make a recipe from Christopher Kimball's The Kitchen Detective because of a fantastic sounding pan sauce made of olives and capers. As I was reading the entry I realized the main focus of the recipe is actually how to properly cook a chicken breast without drying it out. The obvious tip is to leave the skin on and the bone in—that was easy. He also recommends a brine, which might be wonderful, but I just didn't have the time. It didn't seem to matter; the seared chicken came out beautifully moist, if a tad bland. Luckily, the rich sauce was more than up to the task.
- 2 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut three slits into the top of each breast, just breaking the skin. Season them heavily with the salt and pepper.
Pour the oil into an iron skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When it's nice and hot place the chicken breasts in skin side down. Cook for 8 minutes.
Flip the breasts over and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the inside is about 165°F.
Remove the chicken and set aside. Pour off all but 1/2 tablespoon of the fat and place the skillet over high heat. Add the vermouth and the bay leaf. Let it reduce by 2/3rds, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped olives and capers and cook for another minute.
Turn off the heat, pour in the lemon juice and add the parsley. Stir until combined. Serve the sauce over the chicken breasts.