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Jul 10 2008

Broiled Chicken Breasts

Marvs broiler
I’ve been looking over my last couple weeks of blogging, and I realize I’ve been big with the heavy topics and the cranky pants lately. So today, we have a nice recipe.

Well, not so much a recipe as a general food suggestion.

It’s the marinated, broiled, skinless boneless chicken breast. And it’s become one of the most beloved and relied- upon standards in our rotation. It’s super- fast, it’s ridiculously easy, it’s healthy, and it’s delicious.

And it’s unbelievably versatile. You can make sandwiches with it. You can make chicken salad with it. You can cut it up to add protein to a regular salad. You can cut it up or shred it into noodles. Add it to a stir-fry. Use it in an omelette or a frittata. Use it in risotto. Or you can just put a chunk of it on your plate, with a vegetable and a starch next to it, and pretend you’re a 1950s American family.

2herbs_and_spices
Plus you can flavor it almost any way you want to. And that makes it even more versatile. You can use Italian seasonings, Asian seasonings, Middle- Eastern seasonings, Tex-Mex seasonings, good old- fashioned “whatever you have in your kitchen” seasonings… whatever. Chicken is a subtle flavor, and you can spice it up almost any way you want to. Which means you can use this process for almost any recipe where you want little bits of chickeny protein.

It isn’t strictly necessary to use skinless and boneless, I suppose. But the chicken cuts up better, and absorbs the flavor better, without the skin on it. And it cooks a whole lot faster without the bones.

Here’s the recipe. Such as it is.

Olive oil
1: Make an oil-based marinade. (Technically, I suppose it isn’t really a marinade, but I’m not sure what else to call it. “Oil with flavorful stuff in it,” I guess.) This can be pretty much anything you want, and is your opportunity for your creativity to shine. Olive oil and mustard. Olive oil and Old Bay. Olive oil, lemon, and black pepper. Olive oil and rosemary. Peanut oil, sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce. Olive oil and cumin. Chili oil. You get the idea.

Make enough to coat the chicken thoroughly, but you don’t need so much that the chicken is taking a bath.

Do be sure to put a little salt in your marinade/ oily flavorful goop (unless you’re using something like Old Bay, which is good with chicken but salty as fuck.) I did a sweet marinade once that I thought didn’t need salt, and boy, was I wrong. And be aware that anything with sugar in it will blacken. That may be okay with you — I personally love chicken with a blackened sweet- hot mustard marinade/ goop — but just know what you’re getting yourself into.

2: Put the skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the goop, and let them sit. For an hour if you have time; for ten minutes if you don’t. (The subtler the flavor, the longer you have to let it sit… which is why we tend to go for unsubtle flavors.)

3: Put some tinfoil or a crappy cookie sheet you don’t much care about on your broiler pan, and turn your oven to Broil. (I find that it works best to preheat the oven for a few minutes before putting the chicken under the broiler; but then, we have a really old oven.)

Fire
4: Broil the chicken breasts for roughly 7-8 minutes on one side, and roughly 7-8 minutes on the other. You may have to experiment a little to get the exact time right: it’ll vary depending on your oven and the size of the chicken breasts. You don’t want them overcooked and dry… but you really, really don’t want undercooked chicken, either.

Save a little of the marinade, so when you flip the chicken to cook the other side, you can re-coat it.

If you want to go all nutsoid about how the chicken looks, be sure to broil it with the ugly side up first and the nice side up second, since the side that’s up second will be the side that looks prettiest. But if you’re just going to cut it up — or if you don’t care about that sort of thing — then don’t worry about it.

And that’s it.

Make some oily flavorful goop. Coat the chicken with it. Let it sit if you feel like it. Broil it. Eat.

And if you come up with some really good goop concoctions, let me know.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Dodd

    Have you thought about brining? The spousal unit and I regularly consume chicken breast cooked similarly, but we let two of them sit in a brine solution for about an hour or so first.
    Basically, I put enough salt in a couple quarts of water to make it taste extra salty, then let the breasts sit in there for a while, until we’re ready for dinner. There’s science that happens, something about pulling moisture into the meat and binding it there, making it harder to cook out.
    You don’t need to add salt to the chicken when you’re cooking it, and we seldom add any seasoning at all. Because of the added science magic, you can be more careless with your cooking times without risking a dried out chicken breast.

  2. 2
    Fuzz

    SAFETY WARNING!: Don’t use the same goop-goop on the finished chicken that you marinaded the raw chicken in! For the same reason you don’t want to eat undercooked chicken, always save some goop-goop separately before adding the chicken. Then use the ‘virgin’ goop-goop on the finished product. Enjoy!

  3. 3
    Greta Christina

    Mmm… brine!
    That sounds good, Dodd. Question: If you want to have other seasonings as well, do you put them in the brine? Or do you brine the chicken and then do a second application of whatever seasonings you’re applying?
    And thanks for the safety tip, Fuzz. I personally don’t put goop on the chicken after it’s done cooking — I just re-apply it after I turn the chicken over for the second half of the broiling process. But if you are going to do that, then yes: don’t put marinade or goop that raw chicken has been soaking in onto food that you’re about to eat. (And don’t save it for the next time you marinade, either.)

  4. 4
    MAK

    Wow, we have a great recipe : 1 single serving container plain yogurt, a few handfuls of fresh basil leaves, 1 or 2 cloves garlic, (more if you really like garlic), juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil and if you have some, an inch or two sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled. Whirl in food processor, marinate a few hours or over night. We usually cut our chicken breast into smaller pieces so they broil faster without drying out. Yummy.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and have not yet commented, but just want to say how much I love your blog.

  5. 5
    Hayley

    My go to dish when I cooked for one: broiled paprika chicken with the skin on. (I figure b/c I broil it to a fare-the-well a lot of the fat comes off). Stupidly easy to make, one of my most delicious dishes. Use chicken on the bone w/skin (you can even take out a single frozen piece). put it on the broiler and coat it top and bottom with lots of paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until the skin is crispy. Every time I made it, skin crispy, meat tender and juicy. mmm-mm. really easy to make, doesn’t take long, and if you put the chicken on tin foil, no clean up.

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