On my last post, I showed you how to make a simple pan sauce at home with a link to my more detailed description and cooking tips for making delicious pan sauces. Today I want to show you how you can prepare three completely different pan sauces for the same chicken dish. It’s easy and a great example of the importance of learning a technique versus following a recipe. When you learn the cooking technique and you can come up with your own creative sauces. This is a real culinary school lesson for home cooks.
To Prepare the Chicken
- Your choice of boneless white or dark meat chicken, thicker pieces pounded to about 1/2 inch thick.
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, or a mixture of oil and softened butter.
Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat until hot, about 3-5 minutes, depending on your stove.
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides.
Add the oil, and then the butter, if using. Heat until the oil shimmers.
Place the chicken pieces in the pan, “prettiest” side down, leaving at least ½ inch between pieces. Let cook, adjusting the heat to achieve a fairly robust sizzle, for about 3-4 minutes. Resist the temptation to poke at or move the chicken. Just let it cook.
Watch the meat as it cooks, and you will be able to see a ring of white travel up from the edges of the chicken as it sautés. Once the ring of cooked chicken appears to have cooked about half-way, turn the chicken with tongs. If it is “stuck,” don’t force it. The meat will release naturally once it has browned.
Wait another 30 seconds or so and try again. Make sure to keep adjusting the heat. You don’t want a lot of popping, just a robust sizzle and hiss.
Turn the meat and cook until the internal temperature is 160 F. Cooking the second side will take slightly less time, but do check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. It is the only truly reliable, safe way to make sure the meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Remove from the heat and keep warm. Now it is time to build the pan sauce.