April 19, 2010
I started writing a post about my eight year struggle with boneless skinless chicken breast, and then I got tired and bored. It’s only chicken, after all. So I’ll spare you and paraphrase. Up until about six months ago, I couldn’t figure chicken breast out. I’d marinate. I’d pound. And I’d rather have eaten the rubber sole of a shoe. It always left something to be desired. But I so wanted to be able to cook it, eat it and like it. Here I was, recommending boneless skinless chicken breast as a healthier alternative to red meat and fried chicken legs, trying to convince people that yes, it could be just as satisfying as, say, prime rib. But at the same time I was struggling to make a decent meal of this ornery cut of poultry. It was always the same old story. Dry. Dry and tough. Dry and tough and leathery. Again, pass the shoe. I thought I was a decent cook. This ongoing chicken battle made me wonder.
And then one day I happened upon this pan roasting method and, well, glorious. It all made sense. Sear both sides over high heat for a couple of minutes (to seal in the juices), transfer to a high heat oven to roast (and finish cooking), then allow to rest before serving (to allow the juices to redistribute). It only took me a humbling eight years to figure out. But that’s what this whole cooking thing is all about. Learn as you go, improve with practice. It’s experiences like this that make me appreciate and love the art of food that much more.
Ok, so I guess you did get a story about boneless skinless chicken breast.
Which brings me to this recipe. It’s one of those that comes to be out of necessity, in my case to use up half a block of good sheep’s milk feta and leftover fresh thyme and oregano. This recipe is open for interpretation. Swap in goat cheese or roasted red peppers or any assortment of your favorite fresh herbs.
I served this alongside a raw asparagus salad with lemon Parmesan dressing, recipe courtesy of Nicole from the lovely cooking after five. Raw asparagus! Brilliant! Such a nice change of pace.
Pan Roasted Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (about 3-4 each)
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1-2 T finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil (drained), chopped
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 T olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Using a sharp paring knife, slice a horizontal pocket into the side of each chicken breast, making sure not to cut through the other side.
In a small bowl combine the thyme, oregano, black pepper, sundried tomatoes and feta. Toss gently to combine. Stuff each chicken breast with about 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and then season each side with kosher salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in an ovensafe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. The pan is hot enough when the oil looks “squiggly” and smokes slightly. Sear the chicken breast (top side first) for 2 minutes, then flip and sear the underside for 1 minute. Transfer skillet to the preheated oven and roast until chicken is done and juices run clear (7-8 minutes). Remove from oven, cover and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.