I have a backlog of recipes that I want to try that I'm pretty sure could last me for years, but sometimes I'll come across one that I NEED to make - immediately! Such was the case with this chicken. I pretty much love any chicken with a pan sauce, but this one was especially appetizing to me - I loved the mixture of herbs, plus the roasted tomatoes. Something seriously magical happens anytime you roast tomatoes. They develop such a rich, complex flavor that can't be beaten. The addition of fresh herbs brightens up the sauce, and butter gives it an indulgent finish.
This recipe uses kind of an interesting technique as well. A compound butter is made first, and the chicken is cooked in that to impart extra flavor into the meat. I've never cooked chicken in compound butter before, but it will definitely be something I do in the future. I served the chicken over polenta with fresh corn and basil, and it was a wonderfully fresh and summery meal. I was so taken by the idea of this sauce that I almost decided to forgo the chicken and just serve the pan sauce over the polenta, but since I already had chicken thawed and ready I went ahead and made it. I'm glad I did because it was so perfect with the pan sauce and polenta.
Chicken with Tomato-Herb Pan Sauce
adapted from Cook Like a Champion, originally from Bon Appetit, July 2011
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (11-12 ounces)
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, dried oregano and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees, or the lowest possible temperature. Pat dry both sides of the chicken dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper. Measure the flour onto a plate. Working with one breast at a time, press both sides into the flour. Shake gently to remove excess flour and repeat with remaining breast.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the oregano butter with the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Reduce to medium-high when the butter stops foaming. Add the chicken breasts in the skillet and sauté until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through and reads 165-170 on an instant read thermometer. Transfer to a small pan or oven-safe plate and keep warm while preparing sauce.
Increase heat to high and add tomatoes to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to char and burst, about 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and the balsamic vinegar. Crush tomatoes slightly to release their juices and continue stirring until butter has melted. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen the browned bits. Stir in the fresh oregano, basil, and parsley. Remove chicken from oven and add any juices that may have accumulated. Slice chicken and top with tomato sauce.