The Magic of the Butterflying technique: The Key to Juicy Chicken Breasts in a pan!
Confession time: I really do not like to cook meat. And as with many things I don't like, I'm not an expert at it. But a few weeks ago, I stumbled on this food science video by Ethan Chlebowski and became fascinated with the science behind cooking meat perfectly. Since then, I've been cooking chicken breasts in a pan on repeat! It's a healthy, delicious, and quick meal that delights both my husband and kids.
But I understand your concern... Chicken breasts? No thank you... They are dry and bland. Give me thighs or legs at least! I hear you, and I thought the same. Until I learned a simple but magic technique… So today, we’re going to reveal the secret to making juicy and tender chicken breasts: the butterfly technique.
What is Butterflying Chicken Breast, and Why Should You Care?
First things first, let's talk about what the butterfly technique is. No, we're not talking about catching butterflies here, although that would make for an interesting dish. Butterflying is a technique used to flatten a piece of meat, like chicken breast, by cutting it horizontally through the center, leaving one end attached, and then opening it up like a book. This technique allows for even cooking and results in a juicy and tender chicken breast.
Why is it so important? Chicken breasts are quite uneven, with a rounder, thicker side and a slim point. To cook the thick side properly, you need to basically overcook the rest of the chicken, resulting in dry and rubbery chicken breast. Enter the world of butterflying! With this technique, you will cut in half the thick part of the chicken breast, creating a uniform thickness, which allows it to cook more evenly.
How to Butterfly Chicken Breast?
So, let's get started! To butterfly a chicken breast, you'll need a very sharp knife (not serrated), a plate, and of course, a chicken breast. One safety hack: raw chicken can have bacteria, so if you're not prepared to really clean your cutting board afterward, I would simply use a plate: it's hygienic and simple.
Start by placing the chicken breast on the cutting board and use the knife to slice horizontally through the thickest part, leaving one end attached. It's important to make sure your knife is sharp so that you can make a clean cut without tearing the chicken breast.
Once you've made the initial cuts, slowly open up the chicken breast like a book. It's not a complex cut; just go slow and trust yourself.
Your chicken will slowly unfold. Give yourself a break; it doesn't have to be the cleanest cut to work. The important thing is to even out the thickness of the breast so that it cooks evenly.
Here is a video by Taste of Home which shows the technique if you are more a visual learner.
How to Season and Cook Your Chicken Breasts?
Now that we've butterflied your first chicken breast, it's time to season it. You can use any seasoning you like, but I prefer a simple combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, herbs, and a teaspoon of cornstarch per chicken breast. Be sure to season both sides of the chicken breast evenly. Cornstarch will add a bit of crunch to your chicken while cooking.
1. To cook the chicken breasts, heat up a pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil (I like to use canola).
2. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken breast to the skillet. It's important not to overcrowd the pan because this will cause the chicken to steam instead of sear, resulting in a rubbery texture.
3. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 150°F or 65°C(since the chicken is thinner, you can only cook it until 150°F instead of 165°F). If you're not sure if the chicken is cooked all the way through, you can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature or slightly cut through the thickest part of the meat to check that it is no longer pink.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This step is crucial because it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, resulting in a juicy and tender chicken breast.
And there you have it, foodies! A perfectly cooked, juicy, and tender chicken breast using the butterfly technique. This technique is easy to master and will impress your family and friends. Plus, it's a great way to switch up your chicken game and add some variety to your meals.
But wait, we're not done yet. Let's talk about some fun ways to use this juicy and tender chicken breast. You can slice it up and use it in a salad, wrap it in a tortilla for a delicious wrap, or serve it alongside some roasted veggies for a healthy dinner. The possibilities are endless!
So, there you have it, foodies. Now you know how to make juicy and tender chicken breast using the butterfly technique. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it inspires you to try this technique to cook delicious meat more often. Happy cooking!