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April 3 2016

Dry to the bone? Never! Part Two – Chicken’s Tender

You have had the piece of chicken. I have had the piece of chicken. We have had that piece of chicken. It is so dry that if you slice it thinly enough it might double as paper. It is so dry that it tastes vaguely like socks. It is so dry that it crumbles a little like stale bread when you cut into it. Then there’s all the chicken that can’t double as paper product and doesn’t taste like the fabric of our lives or disintegrate on contact, but it’s just not very good.

This saddens me almost as much as the stuff the could be used to take notes on, because it’s what so many people are used to, and there’s no reason to sit down to a mediocre plate of food just getting a passing grade. There is a better way to eat. You do not have to fry chicken for it to be moist or go to an exceptional restaurant where the meat is handled by a well-trained professional. Get out some wine.  Get a meat thermometer and get ready to expect more from the meat you eat when it’s time for dinner.

Get Cooking

Still-of-Chicken-Cooking

image courtesy of K. Moffett

I baby chicken. I do. Roast, pan seared, or oven baked, I cook it with a thermometer and I pull it at exactly 165°. I like to cook it in way that might be called pan seared because of the high heat, or it might be called sautéed because of the amount of wine I use, but I don’t actually ever really sautée it. I just keep it moist. I prevent the chicken from burning without adding any fat, and I keep it moist the same way by deglazing the pan with wine when it becomes dry. You can use stock or water or even cider but I believe wine does work best.

 

Moist, tender, juicy chicken is amazing. It’s simply delightful. If you made my turkey burgers, this is the same method but with a larger cut of very lean meat. If you didn’t, turkey wasn’t a prerequisite, please join me for some tasty and yummy chicken now.

 

The Method

1 boneless skinless chicken breast

1-2 cups white cooking wine (or chicken stock)

salt and pepper

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat a pan over medium to high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken breast. Once it starts to cook and the pan is dry, immediately add a little bit of of wine (or stock) to the pan. As you see it change color on the bottom, add a little more liquid to the pan. Never let the pan stay dry for long; as it cooks and the pan dries out, add just a little more liquid. Repeat as necessary. Continue to cook. When the breast is cooked about halfway through, flip it over. The exact time will vary depending on the size of the breast, the heat of the pan and, in my experience, how much liquid you have been adding. There is no need to rush, seven minutes and even up to ten is great, if the heat is on the low end of the temperature range. When you flip the breast, deglaze the pan if it is dry by adding more of the wine than you did just to keep the pan from drying out. Once that liquid is absorbed, continue to add liquid in small amount to keep the pan, and of course the chicken, from drying out. Continue to cook until the chicken is at 165 degrees

 

The Recipes

Crunchy-Chicken-Salad-Cups-1

image courtesy of K. Moffett

Crunchy Chicken Salad Cups

Makes 2 Servings

1 ½ cups chopped chicken breast /1 chicken breast from base recipe

½ cup chopped celery (approximately 2 stalks)

1/3 cup toasted silvered almonds or chopped walnuts to preference

¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries or low-sugar if you cannot find unsweetened

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup fat free Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped parsley, curly or flat

6 Plum Tomatoes, halved with the middle scooped out

4 teaspoons fresh chives (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

  1. Combine first four ingredients.
  2. Whisk yogurt and lemon juice together.
  3. Toss yogurt and lemon juice with the other ingredients, add parsley.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Scoop out insides of plum tomatoes with melon baller if you have one.   If not a spoon will work just fine.  Fill with chicken salad.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh chives

 

Chicken-with-Quick-Orange-Sauce-

image courtesy of K. Moffett

Chicken with Quick Orange Sauce

1 Serving

1 base recipe for chicken breast

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

3 tablespoons reduced sugar or sugar free orange marmalade

½ cup chicken stock (chicken broth works if you can’t find or don’t have stock)

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon cornstarch

½ shallot, finely chopped

 

  1. Before you begin, chop shallot.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, marmalade, stock, mustard and cornstarch.
  3. Have a plate with foil ready.
  4. Cook the chicken according to the base recipe.
  5. Remove the chicken and cover with foil to keep warm while there is still cooking liquid in the pan if you can. If not, add a little more and cook down slightly. Add the shallots and cook briefly, until slightly softened, 30 seconds to a minute should be long enough. Add more wine if necessary to keep from burning.
  6. Add marmalade mixture to pan.
  7. Reduce so that it starts to thicken into a sauce-like texture.
  8. Return the chicken to the pan, continue to reduce slightly, rewarm the chicken with the sauce.
  9. Finish and serve.

 

Major Grey’s Chicken Salad Wrap

Makes 2 Wraps

1 ½ cups chopped chicken breast /1 chicken breast from base recipe

3 tablespoons fat free Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon fat free or low fat mayonnaise

2 healthy tablespoons Mango Ginger Chutney, Such as Trader Joe’s Mango Ginger Gourmet Chutney or Mrs. Bridges Mango Chutney with Lime and Ginger, Available on Amazon

1 ½ healthy teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/8 healthy teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 healthy teaspoon salt

¼ cup red seedless grapes, halved

3 tablespoons salted, roasted cashews coarsely chopped

2 Low Carb Wraps

 

  1. Chop chicken breast.
  2. Combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder, lime juice, ginger and salt. Whisk gently.
  3. Mix chicken with grapes and cashews.
  4. Toss with yogurt dressing, fold in chutney.
  5. Scoop salad on to wrap, fold up, enjoy!

 

The base recipe can be swapped into almost any recipe that calls for a boneless skinless chicken breast. You can get creative or swap the base method into your favorite recipe. You also now have three great options to try to get started. Whatever you choose, I hope you will enjoy changing the way you eat chicken; it is a delicious choice.

 

 

 

About Kate Moffett

Hi I’m Kate I spend my days navigating New York City where I make the Internet sparkle using degrees from Middlebury College, the Cordon Bleu in Paris and the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. In Paris, I learned that butter, sugar and flour will make most food amazing but that’s too easy; I like a challenge. And I’m also a huge fan of healthy eating, fitness and keeping mind and body balanced. You can also find me two ways on Twitter professionally @WineAndWebGirl or at my personal account @LittleMissMoff and tasting any food I can find – I’ll try anything twice!

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