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How To Make Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts
Southwest Herbed Chicken Breasts
How to Make Herb Crusted Chicken Breasts
Here is a recipe that will make juicy flavorful chicken breasts. The general trend is to eat more chicken due to the low cholesterol content of chicken. However, this has meant many a dry tasteless meal because a few basic steps were not taken.
Do read the basic simple steps that assure a juicy flavorful chicken breast. It is worth your time.
Cut chicken breasts in two and brine
First, don’t try to cook the chicken breasts as one whole piece if they are huge. The time it takes to cook the interior of the meat to 160° may dry out the rest of the chicken breast. This is how so many chicken breasts become dry and stringy. So, cut them in half; well, scissor them in half. Kitchen scissors are a wonderful thing to use. First slice a bit through the chicken meat then finish off with the scissors.
Second, brine them for about 30 minutes. I brined 2 chicken breasts (scissor into four pieces) in 3 cups of water with 1 T kosher salt and 1 T. brown sugar. This prevents dry chicken in all but the most egregious over-cooking escapades!
Note: The brown sugar was used due to my adding lots of spice heat in my herbal coating and I wanted to balance out the heat with a hint of sweetness. You do not need the brown sugar at all!
Third, pat dry the chicken breasts after brining. Dry meat will cook up crispier while wet meat will steam and turn an awful color of gray. Not drying the chicken will enable you to achieve rubber chicken just like all those mass meals turned out at college dorm dining halls. Now, we do not want that do we?
Ready to brown...
Fry until nice and brown and crisp
Fourth, after dredging the boneless and skinless chicken breasts quick fry them on both sides to get a nice brown crunchy flavorful coating for about 4 minutes. Be sure to brown them in a pan that can go into a 350° oven.
Fifth, finish them off in the 350° oven for 15-30 minutes. If the chicken breasts are thinner it may only take 15 minutes to cook. These pictured here were thicker, so they needed the full 30 minutes to cook to the 160° interior done temperature.
Sixth, place the chicken on a plate and tent with foil for10-15 minutes in order to allow the juices to redistribute into the meat. If you leave this step out the juices that we worked so hard to keep IN the meat will just run all over your plate when you first cut into the chicken. That would be a disaster!
Here are the ingredients and preparation in a more typical format.
- 2 chicken breasts, scissor in two again
- 3 C. water
- 1 T. kosher salt
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 3/4 C. flour
- 1 C. bread crumbs
- 4 T. Southwestern Chipotle Herbs
- 1 t. cilantro powder
- 1/2 t. onion powder, NOT salt but powder
- 1/2 t. garlic powder, NOT salt but powder
- 1-2 egg, healthier egg substitutes used here
- 1-3 T. olive oil, other vegetable oil is fine
- Split chicken breasts and brine in water and salt and brown sugar for 30 minutes
- Pat breasts dry and dredge in flour, egg, and then in mixture of bread crumbs and herb mixture of chipotle herbs, onion and garlic powder, and cilantro powder
- Fry in pre-heated hot pan. Use 1-3 T. of oil Make sure pan is hot before placing chicken breasts in pan. Saute for about 4 minutes per side. When the side is nice and crisp, the chicken will release from the pan. Do NOT pull up the chicken before it is nice and crispy
- Finish off the chicken in a 350 degree oven for 15-30 minutes. Thick chicken pieces will need the longer time. The chicken in the picture needed the full 30 minutes. The chicken interior should be 160 degrees
- Place the done chicken on a plate and tent with foil for 10-15 minutes. This is so the chicken will retain the juice and flavor
A bit more about the basic recipe
The sauce was made from the drippings on the bottom of the pan. While the chicken is resting, make a simple roux. Scrape the bottom of the pan so the drippings are all free from the pot. Add about 1-2 T. of the flour from the chicken dredging and whisk like mad until it is all one. Have the heat on medium for this. Add about 1/4 C. to 1/2 C. of white wine and then about 1 C milk and whisk some more. Add more milk until you get the consistency that you want. For more on gravy making see the Green Chile Gravy or Sauce recipe at: http://nmlady.hubpages.com/hub/Green-Chile-Gravy-OR-Sauce
Lastly, you did NOT think that this recipe would be some dull flavored recipe did you? Not from my kitchen. The coating used on the chicken breast was a Southwestern mix that is bright, unexpected, and delicious. So, if you have a hankering for that spicy deep fried chicken crunch and flavor but don’t want all that cholesterol and calories, this is a nice choice chicken breast dish. And, yes we do like it a bit blackened.
If this turns out too hot for your family, serve the dish with some sour cream. Sour cream will coat the receptors in the mouth and stop the heat while letting the flavor remain. Next time you make it use less of the Southwest herbs.
The Southwest flavor mixed was achieved by using a pre-packaged chipotle seasoning with garlic, onion, and cilantro powder. Your store should have a pre-mix but you can make your own. Chipotle also makes a nice gravy or sauce flavor at the end.
This is our Southwest preference, however, go ahead and switch to Herbes de Provence or Montreal Chicken type of herbs or others but only after you plunge taste buds alive and well into this chicken recipe! You may never go back!
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