Easy Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts With Bourbon-Mustard Pan Sauce Recipe

The Food Lab

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Easy Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts With Bourbon-Mustard Pan Sauce Recipe

The secrets for extra-juicy chicken with crisp skin and a smooth, rich pan sauce flavored with bourbon and mustard. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Pan-roasted chicken with pan sauce—like this one flavored with bourbon and whole grain mustard—is the ultimate weeknight staple. It's inexpensive, delicious, and takes less than half an hour from start to finish. Throw a great simple mixed green salad on the side, and you've got yourself one of my all-time favorite meals.

Why this recipe works:

  • Adding gelatin to broth forms a thicker, glossier, far more stable emulsion than a standard pan sauce.
  • Soy sauce adds a big umami boost to the sauce.
  • A thermometer ensures that your chicken comes out perfectly moist with crisp skin every time.

A pan-sauce blueprint leads to flawless results.

  • Yield:Serves 2 to 3
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 whole airline chicken breasts or boneless skin-on chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3/4 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Directions

  1. 1.

    Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F. Pat chicken breasts dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in an oven-safe medium stainless steel skillet over high heat until just starting to smoke. Carefully lay chicken breasts into hot skillet skin side down. Cook without moving until skin is deep golden brown and very crisp, about 6 minutes. Carefully flip chicken breasts and transfer skillet to the oven.

  2. 2.

    While chicken roasts, add stock to a liquid measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside.

  3. 3.

    Cook chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breasts registers 150°F, about 7 to 12 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Set aside to rest while you make the pan sauce.

  4. 4.

    Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and place over high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bourbon and cook,scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the mustard and the stock/gelatin mixture and cook on high heat until sauce is reduced by about two-thirds, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in butter, soy sauce, and lemon juice and cook at a hard boil until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

  5. 5.

    Slice chicken breasts into three pieces on a sharp bias and transfer to individual serving plates. Stir parsley into the pan sauce. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.