Your favorite chicken recipe, please.
December 5, 2008 11:13 AM   Subscribe

How should I cook this chicken?

I've got two large split chicken breasts thawing for dinner for two. I'd like to try something new. I could leave them as they are or bone the meat. I'll be going out to shop before I cook dinner so I can get pretty much any ingredients. On hand I have onions, rice, a full spice cabinet, and some hot little red skinny Thai peppers growing in a pot, but I'm open to any type of recipe at all, sauteed, baked, fried, whatever. Colorful would be nice, but again, whatever.

Help me find a new favorite!
posted by longsleeves to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Damn. I came in to offer Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken recipe, which is hands down the best way to roast a chicken, but now I see you have divided breasts and need it for tonight, so I'm no help.

Good luck!!
posted by trip and a half at 11:20 AM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Jerk chicken is frickin' delicious.
posted by signalnine at 11:21 AM on December 5, 2008

Try cutting it up and cooking it in a yogurt-curry sauce, with bell peppers and onion, then served over Basmati rice.

Another thing you could try served over rice is to cook the chicken with olives, bell pepper, onion, and feta cheese.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:23 AM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also, the above method of roasting a whole chicken is okay, but I really recommend trying the brining method.
posted by signalnine at 11:23 AM on December 5, 2008

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4 to 6. Published September 1, 2007, Cooks Illustrated.

This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.


Chicken Tikka

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:26 AM on December 5, 2008 [9 favorites]

Make a scaled-down chicken and dumplings - Molly Stevens' recipe from All About Braising is the ultimate, I think - homey-elegant, fun to cook, comfortable and comforting. It's a pretty subtle dish, and not very loud or colorful, but you could start with a winter salad - roasted beets and grapefruit segments with endive in a mustardy dressing would be beautiful and a nice complement.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2008

I like to pan fry the breasts in olive oil over medium-high heat. About 4 minutes per side. Season first with salt and pepper and squeeze a little lemon juice over them while they fry if you feel like it.

Have ready some crumbled or thinly sliced gorgonzola or other blue cheese. Also some sauteed thin apple slices with onion, also done in olive oil. When you flip the chicken put a quantity of the sauteed onion and apple mixture on top of each breast and place some of the cheese over that. After a couple minutes cover to ensure that the mixture heats up and the cheese melts.

Serve with any sort of vegetable (steamed asparagus is nice) and potato, rice or whatever.
posted by rocketpup at 11:40 AM on December 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'd marinate them in Balsamic vinegar and olive oil, with garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme. After marinating them for an hour or two, put them in a baking pan with the marinade and crack black pepper over them.

Bake at 350 until done. Flip to maintain moisture if you want.

Now I'm hungry...
posted by schyler523 at 11:45 AM on December 5, 2008

Chicken Francaise is a good splurge every now and then. Pound the breasts flat, dredge in flour and egg, pan fry. Use the remaining fat in the pan and add white wine and lemon juice, reduce, and you have a sauce. serve over rice.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2008

This recipe for Broiled Chicken and Artichokes is super easy and totally delicious. It calls for thighs, but I generally use bone-in chicken breasts. Serve with the rice you've got on hand or couscous. It only has 5 ingredients, so you might already have everything in your pantry.
posted by jrichards at 11:49 AM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Mediterranean chicken
Serves 2 (or one greedy person)

This is a delicious one-pot meal. You need a skillet with a lid (or a large plate you can use as a lid)

In a large skillet over medium drizzle a little olive oil. Crush 2 cloves of garlic and add to the oil.

Place two chicken pieces (legs or breasts, bone in) skin side down and fry until the skin starts to go crispy. Turn them over. Do the same on the other side. Put the lid on the skillet turn down the heat and let the chicken cook for 10-15 minutes until almost done.

Take the chicken out of the pan, Set it to one side and cover it. You should have lots of nice garlicky, chickeny, olive oily juices in the pan.

Turn the heat up. To the pan add a couple of chopped courgettes (zucchini) and a chopped red bell pepper. Fry them in the juices. Then de-glaze the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice and give it a good stir. Add the finely-chopped zest of half a lemon, a generous handful of pitted black olives and the same of chopped parsley. Return the chicken to the pan. Stir everything around.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add a handful of cherry tomatoes and (optional) a generous amount of spinach. Stir into the chicken/veg mix. Cover the pan, simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Like most Mediterranean food, this dish is best when it's slightly cooled, almost lukewarm.

Serve with crusty bread to mop up all the chicken/lemon/garlic/herb juices.
posted by essexjan at 12:04 PM on December 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

I was going to come in here and half-ass an explanation of the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe from Cook's, but I see that mudpuppie beat me to it (with a lot more detail than I have at hand, too).
posted by iminurmefi at 12:29 PM on December 5, 2008

Try butter chicken! I asked a question about it not long ago.
posted by pravit at 12:42 PM on December 5, 2008

Note that my recipe above with the apple and gorgonzola works best with boneless breasts. I need to read more carefully! Not sure if you can get a decent sized, contiguous boneless piece of meat from your breasts.
posted by rocketpup at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2008

Oh, one more idea that is guaranteed to cause a heart attack: Chicken Kiev.

Flatten chicken. Take a stick of butter. Wrap chicken around butter. Batter, bread, and deep fry.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:05 PM on December 5, 2008

Dredge in flour, lightly pat off, brown skin side down in a skillet in four tablespoons butter over medium heat, flip over, brown a little more, add a quarter cup of wine and half a cup of chicken bouillion.

Lid on, cook at low heat 30-40 minutes, remove chicken breasts.

Stir one tablespoon of corn starch in a half pint of heavy cream until smooth, pour into the pan, stir and let thicken

Eat with spoon.

No, no!

Pour it over chicken and rice.

Optionally saute a bunch of mushrooms first, set aside, and then mix into the sauce at the end.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:13 PM on December 5, 2008

Oh, I didn't realize you're willing to de-bone--if you're willing to remove the bones you could wrap a slice of ham and a slice of swiss cheese in the middle, tie them up, and then follow the above.

Chicken cordon bleu.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:15 PM on December 5, 2008

Forgot: I don't eat chicken all that often, but last time I did, I made an ersatz fried chicken that was pretty damn good.

Soak the breasts in buttermilk, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and some paprika. Soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Then coat with seasoned flour (salt, lots of black pepper, paprika). Shake off excess. Pan fry in olive oil until golden and crispy.

The buttermilk is totally key here.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:15 PM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you can get a decent sized, contiguous boneless piece of meat from your breasts.

This is not a problem, I am a disciple of Saint Julia Child of the Kitchen Knives.

Thanks for all the great ideas so far, you guys are great.
posted by longsleeves at 1:16 PM on December 5, 2008

Without enough time for hours of marinading, these are my two favorite chicken recipes. I make these for two servings. Even for the Cordon Bleu, I just halve the sauce rather than trying to split it by three.

From here
, Chicken Cordon Bleu:

* 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 6 slices Swiss cheese
* 6 slices ham
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 6 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
3. Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

From here, Chicken Lazone:


* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
* 1/4 cup butter, divided
* 1/2 cup heavy cream


1. Combine the seasonings and coat chicken breasts.
2. In large saute pan melt half of the butter and cook chicken over medium heat for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning once.
3. Pour the cream into the skillet and lower the heat.
4. Simmer for several minutes, stirring until the sauce thickens then add the remaining butter.
5. When butter is melted place chicken breasts on four plates and top with the sauce.
posted by peep at 2:47 PM on December 5, 2008

Just thought I'd add that the Cook's Illustrated Tikka Masala recipe cited above is FANTASTIC and always garners compliments when I make it.
posted by proj at 4:29 PM on December 5, 2008

  1. Heat up some lardons (or cubes of salt pork / bacon) in a pan and let them cook over medium heat until they've rendered out all of their fat and begun to brown. Remove the pork but don't throw them away. (you could skip this step and start with a pat of butter, melted with some oil to prevent burning)
  2. turn up the heat to medium-high and place the chicken breasts, bone and all, into the pan. Brown on each side (probably about 3 minutes per side)
  3. Remove the chicken and keep it to the side with the pork.
  4. Add a finely-diced onion with a pinch of salt. Sweat until translucent. (Shallots are a great substitute here, but careful not to brown shallots)
  5. Add some nice mushrooms, preferably something strong-flavored and relatively firm-fleshed.(chanterelle, morel, black trumpets, shitake)
  6. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced finely
  7. When the mushrooms release their liquor (i.e., there's some liquid in the bottom of the pan), turn up the heat and de-glaze the pan with 1/2-cup or so of liquid (water, chicken stock, white wine, etc.).
  8. Stir frequently and reduce by about half the liquid.
  9. Dump in a fuck-ton of crème fraîche--about 1/2-cup, maybe more. You can substitute sour cream in a pinch, but avoid yogurt, as it will curdle.
  10. Place the chicken back into the pan, covered as much as possible by the sauce, cover and simmer
  11. After 10 minutes or so, turn the pieces of chicken over.
  12. After another 5 minutes, pull out the largest piece of chicken and slide a knife right into the center of the flesh. If the liquid that comes out is red or pinkish, keep cooking.
  13. Serve over buttered noodles or small boiled potatoes or roasted winter vegetables.
Can you tell that I've been living in France?
posted by LMGM at 4:55 PM on December 5, 2008 [4 favorites]

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