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How-To

Chicken in a Flash

Sliced chicken breast plus a quick pan sauce equals dinner on the table in short order

Fine Cooking Issue 63
Photos: Scott Phillips
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A confession: After spending all day testing recipes in the Fine Cooking test kitchen, I sometimes struggle to find the motivation to cook dinner at home. But I can only get away with dining on a bowl of popcorn every so often, so most nights I’m still looking for inspiration for a delicious but unfussy meal. Like many of you, I want something to satisfy my taste buds, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time creating it. That’s how I came up with this collection of quick-cooking chicken breast recipes, all based on the same prep and cooking techniques.  

Slices mean quick cooking. By slicing the boneless chicken breasts on an angle (see the photos below) and searing the slices over medium-high heat, I’m able to cook the chicken in about six minutes and still get lightly golden brown and juicy results.  

A pan sauce adds pizzazz. Chicken breasts are fairly mild in flavor, so I like to jazz them up with full-flavored sauces made in the same pan in which I cooked the chicken. Chicken takes well to all sorts of flavors, so depending on the mood I’m in, I can have an Italian-inspired Marsala chicken or an Indian-style coconut-curry chicken. A satisfying dinner is ready within 20 to 30 minutes, and later on, there are hardly any dishes to wash.

For juicy chicken, cook slices quickly

Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle, cut each breast crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices.
White edges signal that it’s time to flip the chicken. Slide a spatula under each piece to release any areas that are sticking.

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