This is a basic technique for pan-seared chicken breasts and you can really have fun with all the flavour options. When you cook the chicken this way, it gets flavor from getting browned first, and then you cook it with the lid on over medium-low heat to keep it from drying out. It’s a very easy technique with almost endless variations.
Sprinkle boneless, skinless chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan (or any other shallow pan for which you have a lid) over medium high heat until hot, then drizzle in a small amount of olive oil. Place the chicken breasts in the hot pan and cook for 5 minutes or so, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn the chicken breasts over, turn the heat down to medium low, and add herbs, spices, and about 3 tablespoons of liquid to the pan (see recommendations below).
Cover the pan and let the chicken cook until it is no longer pink — about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan, and turn the heat back up to high to reduce any liquid that is left in the pan down a very small amount — there should be just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan — and it should look like a glaze. You may need to scrape the pan a bit. Turn the heat off, add the chicken pieces back and flip them over a few times to glaze with the pan drippings.
Suggested seasoning/liquid combinations:
• Once you brown the chicken on one side, you can also flip it over, add a can of diced tomatoes (drain off the liquid and just use the tomatoes), cover and let it cook in the tomatoes.
• You can also just flip the chicken over after it’s browned on one side, add a few tablespoons of water just to keep it from sticking, and then when it’s done you can brush on a little bit of teriyaki sauce or barbecue sauce.
• Season with oregano, ground cumin and chili powder; use lime juice, lemon juice or orange juice for the liquid; you can also use salsa, but it won’t cook down into a glaze — but it tastes great.
• Season with curry powder; use orange juice, balsamic vinegar or white wine/vermouth for the liquid
• Season with ground ginger and garlic powder; add soy sauce + white wine, sake, chicken broth, or thin teriyaki sauce for the liquid
• Sprinkle with tarragon; use white wine for the liquid
• Sprinkle with rosemary or basil; use balsamic vinegar for the liquid