My husband really loves chicken and we have it on the menu about once a week for dinner. I generally make it, whole, in a slow cooker (as a soup) or something else easy (roasted in a dutch oven).
On occasion for our chicken meal, I make some killer chicken breasts. These require a bit more work, but day-uummm they are good.
However(!), I have three requirements.
- The chicken breasts must have the skin on.
- The chicken breasts must have the bone in.
- And, most importantly, the chicken breasts must come from a pasture-raised organic bird… or I won’t even bother.
Once those criteria are met, I get to making pan-roasted chicken breasts with an easy pan sauce and my family is extra happy.
Brining Alert! The recipe includes brining the chicken breasts which is actually easy and only takes about 30 minutes. I’ll admit, I’ve always been intimidated by the whole brining thing, but turns out, it’s easy. I learned about it from America’s Test Kitchen, cuz they brine their breasts, and I trust their recommendations.
Know this: The brine keeps the breasts juicy and flavorful. Totally recommend.
Know this, too: Don’t be afraid of the brine.
I learned the method of making easy pan sauces, like it’s second nature, from cooking school. Put the two together (brined breasts + pan sauce), and you have yourself some crazy good chicken breasts.
You’ll see that the pan sauce has some variations as detailed below. In a perfect world, I’ll have the following on hand:
- organic onion (or shallot or leek)
- good wine (or cognac)
- a little homemade bone broth
- and grass-fed butter
There are times, however, that I don’t have onion so I leave it out. Other times I don’t have any broth thawed, so I leave it out. So, just use what you have. Heck, if you didn’t have wine or broth, use a little water (or beer or fruit juice or vinegar) to deglaze the pan.
Recipe: Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Easy Pan Sauce (gluten free)
Chicken Breasts Ingredients
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3 to 4 chicken breasts (pasture-rasied), skin on, and bone in
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Ghee (<– BEST ghee)
Easy Pan Sauce Ingredients
- 1/3 red onion, minced (if you have onion, sometimes I don’t and I just omit)
- few splashes (or glugs) of white or red wine
- few splashes bone broth (if you have, I’ve done it without)
- 1 to 2 pats unsalted, grass-fed butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Dissolve the kosher salt in about two quarts of cold filtered water, in a large enough bowl to submerge the chicken breasts.
- Once they’re in the brine, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and season with freshly ground black pepper only. (You don’t need salt after just brining them, unless of course, you really have a thing for salt. I know some people like that.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a spoonful of the ghee in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
- Brown the chicken, skin-side down, until nice and golden, about 5 minutes. Brown the other side about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip chicken back to skin-side down and place the skillet in the oven.
- Roast the chicken until the thickest part of the breast is 160 degrees F… about 20 to 25 minutes. I use this game-changing instant read thermometer.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a platter, as pictured above.
- Remove some of the excess oil from the skillet if it looks extra oily (I do that carefully with tongs and paper towel).
- Add the red onion and cook over low-medium heat. You want to sweat it for a few minutes. Stir frequently. (If you don’t have onion, just skip this step.)
- Add the wine and turn up the heat to get a simmer and reduce the wine a bit so you get a little thickness.
- Add any accumulated chicken juices from the platter on which the chicken breasts are resting.
- Add a few splashes of bone broth, if you have it (and reduce).
- Whisk in a tablespoon or two of grassfed butter. Season to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the gorgeous golden chicken breasts. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley.
- Take a moment to “oooh” and “ahhh” – because you’ll want to.
- Serve to your family and take in their “oohs” and “ahhs” – because they’ll want to.