I applaud the farmers who are now raising tender and tasty all natural chickens in more humane ways. Here in Colorado my two favorite are Red Bird Farms and Bell and Evans. If you have not tried either of these chicken products I highly recommend it. We frequently eat chicken in my household and I have it on the menu at Cal-Wood at least once a week. I have found a way to make super tender chicken with great flavor and very little fat that is simple, easy and delicious.
A cut of chicken that I use frequently is the boneless, skin on chicken breast from Red Bird Farms. I do not see this cut at most grocery stores but only at specialty meat counters. In Longmont we are blessed with a wonderful old style butcher when most butchers have gone out of business. Your Butcher Frank is a treat and hopefully they will be around forever. The knowledgeable staff and fresh high quality meats are well worth the trip if you do not live in Longmont. Whole Foods also carries boneless, skin on chicken breasts. Ask at your meat counter but stick to an all natural or organic chicken when possible.
The reason I like to use boneless, skin on chicken is the skin will keep the meat very moist while cooking. I have developed a way to flavor the meat while baking that ensures that the meat stays moist and tender but the chicken is full of flavor. This easy recipe takes no time at all.
The most important part of this recipe is that you are flavoring and cooking the breast meat without having it make direct contact with high heat surfaces. This ensures success in keeping the meat tender and moist. First I season the chicken with salt and pepper and pan sear the skin of the chicken breast only and do not sear the skin less side.
Just a quick 3-4 minute sear to add some color to the fat side of the chicken and start the cooking process. Then lay the chicken on a bed of fresh Meyer lemons and herbs. This keeps the bottom side of the chicken from making contact with the hot pan in the oven, infuses the meat with flavor during baking and allow the skin up side to get crispy and tasty.
Put about a teaspoon of olive oil on the bottom of a casserole dish and arrange sliced fresh lemon in the pan and top with fresh rosemary and thyme. After arranging the chicken skin side up on the lemon and herbs put the chicken in a preheated oven at 425 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breast. Use an internal read thermometer to check is chicken is done. A good internal read thermometer is the most important tool you can use when cooking meats at home.
This technique allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the lemon and herb while keeping it protected from the direct heat of the pan.
Let chicken rest for 3-5 minutes and serve.
Tender Lemon Herb Baked Chicken Breast
Gluten free, Low Carb and Low Fat
3-4 boneless Skin on Chicken Breasts
2 Meyer Lemon
3-4 Springs of fresh Thyme and Rosemary
Salt and Cracked Pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Season and sear chicken skin side down in a hot pan for 3-4 minutes. Slice lemon and arrange in baking dish with herbs on top. Lay chicken skin side up on lemon and herb bed making sure the chicken is raised above the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until internal read thermometer registers 165 degrees. Let rest for 3-5 minutes and serve with either the skin on or take it off for lower fat dish.