Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Butterflied Chicken Breasts with White Wine Sauce

Though I do love my cheese, and dessert, and anything else that is bad for me, I do try to be health conscious most of the time. A classic healthy meal is chicken breast and rice. The boring thing about this combo is that it is just that; boring. I decided to add a little more flavor to the mix while still keeping it fairly healthy. What I came up with was this still simple, but much tastier version. The chicken recipe is below. For my rice recipe I used basmati rice, edamame and a little fresh orange zest to brighten it up.

Butterflying chicken can be intimidating, but as long as you have a sharp knife, it is quite easy. The easiest way to think of it is like cutting a bagel or muffin. You are going to keep one side of the meat connected which will basically make a book out of the meat. A benefit to butterflying the chicken besides making it sound fancy (seriously how many people do you know that say, “Oh I just butterflied some chicken today”), it also makes the meat thinner which means it cooks allot quicker too. There are just a few basic tools you will need. A way to sound even fancier is by deglazing your pan with a little wine and making a flavorful little cause to drizzle over the chicken.

Deglazing is the process of, well basically, cleaning your pan of all those stuck on little bits of food. Those little bits of food, though they might seem like nothing special, are actually tasty little tidbits of condensed flavor. This is a common method when cooking meat in a skillet or pan, because not only do those little bits make great sauce, but this is a quick way to clean you pan of that excess stuff left in the pan which I can guarantee will not come off as easy later on. Commonly wine or broth is used to deglaze the sauce then simmered down to make a condensed and flavorful sauce that is then drizzled over the meat.

Butterflied Chicken Breasts with White Wine Sauce

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the sauce:

½ cup white wine

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tbs unsalted butter (if you only have salted butter you can add less salt or just omit it altogether).


Sharp knife
Cutting Board
Meat mallet
Saran Wrap

To butterfly the breasts:

Take one breast at a time and starting at the thickest end, insert knife in the breast and cut through until it almost reaches the other end of the chicken, being sure not to cut all the way through the other side. Place your hand on the top of the breast to help keep your knife from going all over the place and cut from one end to the other, making a book out of the breast.
Another method is, make a cut in the center of one end of the breast and spread it apart a little more with each cut until you have cut the breast open like a book. Do this with each breast and set aside.

To pound the meat:
After you have butterflied each breast, take a piece of saran wrap and place over the chicken. This will help prevent splattering. Starting at the seam side of the breast, take the flat side of the meat mallet and pound it in a sweeping motion (meaning as you strike the meat glide the mallet across the meat rather than just hitting it straight on) flip over and do on other side. The goal is to just slightly thin out the meat and make it look like one large breast; it doesn’t have to be super thin. A few pounds on each side generally does the trick.

To cook the chicken:
Heat a skillet on med-high heat until smoking hot. Add a small amount of olive oil. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on each side and place them into the pan. They will cook allot quicker this way because the meat is thinner. Generally about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear when you pierce the meat.

Deglazing the pan:
When you are done cooking the chicken, turn the heat down to low-med and add ½ cup of white wine. With a spatula, scrape the pan removing as much of the brown bits as possible (these are full of great flavor). Add salt and pepper to taste and melt in the tablespoon of butter. Remove from heat and pour over the chicken.

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