We’re killing 2 birds with one recipe today! We’re looking at the technique of pan-roasting, which is a terrific way to prepare chicken and fish, but it works for most meats, too. Pan-roasting, to put it simply is browning the meat/fish in question in a large oven-proof pan, then sliding the pan into the oven and finishing the cooking there. And in this case, we’re going to be using the Goddess Herbes de Provence blend from the tarragon post. I love it when a plan somewhat comes together, don’t you? If you don’t already have a large heavy-bottomed skillet, casserole, roasting pan, then at the earliest possible time, you need to get one. Le Creuset makes a good one, but they are quite expensive and there are other great options on the market. If you can find a tri-ply or enamel-coated pan, I feel they are superior, as they heat evenly and you can use lower heat. Having said all that, this pan has an encapsulated bottom. It has a triple-layered piece attached to the bottom, not pressed between layers of stainless steel on the bottom and up the sides. It has a tight-fitting glass lid and it’s large, 14 inches across. I love this pan and as you can see, I use this pan a lot.
We’re going to digress a bit here, because that’s what The Goddess does. I want to talk about what setting to cook on. If you’re under the impression that high heat will cook food more quickly, that’s only partially true. High heat is excellent when you wish to sear meat and make the perfect scallop; it will give that nice, brown, crusty coating on the outside of a steak or chop (or scallop), but then you will need lower the heat to finish cooking the interior (scallops are the exception to this rule). But for most things, the “medium to low” range actually works better. High heat also tends to be tricky in that, if you are distracted (and who isn’t, now and again?) even briefly, high heat can cook the outside to a perfect char, that will hit the garbage can with a lovely thud, but the interior will be very pink or raw. “Pink” is fine with beef or lamb, it’s actually preferred, but with chicken and pork, not such a good idea. One last thing about heat…my mother was an excellent cook. When I would make mashed potatoes, I would put the water-filled pot with the potatoes on the burner, turn the burner to high. There would be times when The Goddess-in-training would become distracted and the potatoes would be boiling like a cauldron of acid and she would gently remind me to “lower the heat so the water just keeps boiling. Once water boils, that’s as hot as it’s ever going to be. The potatoes won’t cook any more quickly, but the water can boil away before they are done and then the potatoes will burn”. If you ever burned potatoes, then you know they are compost material and you’ll need to burn the house to the ground, to get rid of the smell. And yet again, she was right….
and you end up with an appetizingly browned exterior and a juicy, tasty interior that’s done to perfection…like this.
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Herbes de Provence
- 4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs (probably 6-8 thighs)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh diced shallots or dried shallots
- 1 onion, cut int half horizontally, then sliced into wedges vertically
- 1 lemon, zest removed and cut into fine julienne
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in the skillet, lower the heat to medium and cook, without moving the meat, for 4-5 minute or until nicely browned. Before turning the chicken, sprinkle with about half of the Herbes de Provence. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the shallot, onion, julienned lemon zest to the pan. Deglaze with the broth and wine. Place the chicken, browned side up on top of the vegetables; sprinkle with the remaining herb mixture and squeeze the lemon over the chicken, placing the squeezed lemons around the chicken pieces.
Place the pan, uncovered, in the oven and cook until a meat thermometer registers 160°F, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place the chicken pieces on a plate loosely covered with foil. Discard the lemon wedges. Return the pan (be careful because the handles will still be very hot from the oven) to the burner; bring the mixture to the boil. Pour any accumulated juice on the plate into the pan. Swirl in the remaining butter, if using and pour over the chicken. Serve immediately.
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Herbes de Provence Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? As you can see from the picture, I tossed some carrots in under the chicken. If you thinly slice them, they will be done when the chicken is. You may prepare this up to 2 hours ahead to the point where you are ready to place the whole thing in the oven (that’s where we are in the picture). About 15 minutes before our ready to eat, place the pan in the preheated oven and continue as indicated. It may take a couple of minutes longer to cook. Serve this with roasted or mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or polenta.
A note about serving and portions. A number of years ago when “The Sons” were still around the house, it was not uncommon to have their friends join us for dinner, and sometimes unexpectedly. One evening, The Goddess found herself in a bit of a dilemma; she had 6 hungry people to feed, 4 of which were teenaged boys, and only 4 large chicken breasts. So, when I served the chicken, instead of an entire breast per person, I sliced each breast into about 6 slices, added an extra vegetable and some good bread to the menu and instead of running short, we actually had leftover chicken. I can be taught, so from that moment, I always slice chicken breasts and thighs, pork chop, steaks, etc., when serving. For The Latin Lover and I, one large chicken breast will be more than enough for both of us, with a bit leftover for lunch. We feel completely satisfied, but not stuffed like a cannoli!
One last thing, you may use salmon (reduce the cooking time to the oven only), thick pork chops or a pork tenderloin or lamb chops, instead of the chicken. You will need to adjust the cooking times slightly. How’s that for flexible?